In the long history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, no goaltender had shutout his opponent in his NHL debut – until Monday.
Netminder Garret Sparks made 24 saves over the Edmonton Oilers to pick up a shutout in his first NHL game. And after the 3-0 win, he got emotional when informed that he had entered the Maple Leafs record books with the blanking.
The video of this moment is above.
Said Sparks via NHL.com:
"After I came out of the first period unscathed, I wanted to have a good second and I got a couple of lucky posts there," Sparks said. "Going into the third period, it was definitely on my mind, and I just wanted to be sure that if they are going to beat me, they really had to beat me. The guys in front of me kept everything to the outside and kept everything manageable. I really have them to thank for this."
Sparks also got emotional when talking to reporters postgame and discussing his parents. Per The Hockey News:
“We had to make a lot of sacrifices just to get me through minor hockey and there’s been bumps and bruises along the way,” Sparks said. “I’ll never be able to repay them no matter how much I end up making in this game. I owe everything to them.”
The 22-year-old Sparks was 8-2-1 with a 1.90 goal-against average and .938 save percentage for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League this year before the call-up due to a James Reimer injury.
He also wore some creative goal pads.
Last season Sparks played 36 games with the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL. He was selected in the seventh-round (190th overall) by the Leafs in the 2011 NHL Draft.
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