Leafs starting third goalie

The Maple Leafs are starting their third goalie of the season against the Colorado Avalanche. ...

The Maple Leafs are starting their third goalie of the season against the Colorado Avalanche. (Mark O'Neill/SUN MEDIA)

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 4:51 PM ET

Reeling from their worst start in almost 20 years, the 0-4-1 Leafs called up centre Tyler Bozak from the Marlies, apparently benching forwards Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman and sitting goalie Vesa Toskala out with a lower body injury.

"Why not?," coach Ron Wilson said of the high-profile benchings. "We need more from everyone, we're giving opportunities to younger guys."

Toskala was shaken up in Monday's 7-2 loss to the New York Rangers, when teammate Jason Blake crosschecked Ranger forward Ryan Callahan over top of him while he was in the butterfly position. With Joey MacDonald already slated to start after Toskala registered no wins, a 5.56 goals-against average and an .812 save percentage, the Leafs called up James Reimer from the Marlies to back up MacDonald tonight against the Colorado Avalanche. Toskala went for an MRI today, but the problem is not thought to be serious.

The game will also see the return of the Leafs' top scorer in pre-season, Viktor Stalberg, who suffered a mild concussion a week ago early in the club's third game after getting one point in two previous starts. He and Bozak live together with forward Christian Hanson, who is also with the Marlies.

"Viktor and I were on different schedules, but I was jealous whenever he went on (an NHL) road trip," Bozak said.

Bozak received word via text last night he would be called up.

"He came by my room this morning and said he'd be in the lineup hopefully," Stalberg said. "It's awesome. I watched a couple of his AHL games and I think he’s been playing well."

MacDonald was on par with Toskala through training camp, but started with the Marlies so the club could grade Jonas Gustavsson, who lasted five periods before going on short-term IR with a groin injury.

“I said at training camp that things can change quickly and they did,” MacDonald said. "Hopefully, we can start tonight and go from here. We’ll get out of it, but it's going to take everyone."

The Leafs' commotion yesterday morning allowed Darcy Tucker to come back to town in relative anonymity. Tucker was a force for the Leafs for eight years before his play nose-dived in 2007-08 after a new contract was signed, with a no-trade clause that the winger held on to as the Leafs went into a rebuild mode. Tucker racked up 756 penalty minutes as well as 319 points before joining the Avalanche in 2008.

Tonight's game will feature a pre-game tribute to the late Teeder Kennedy, a Hall of Fame captain for the Leafs who passed away in the summer.


Photos