Gerber stops 'Canes

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The last time Martin Gerber stood in the RBC Center, he was cradling the Stanley Cup.

Last night, he was just satisfied to help the Senators carry home the two points.

The Senators goaltender returned to the net for the first time in 15 days and came up with a solid performance in a 4-1 victory over his former Carolina Hurricanes teammates.

As a local broadcaster noted, this wasn't about how Gerber started, the finish mattered most and his performance allowed the Senators to complete a four-game road trip with 6-of-8 points.

"It feels really good," said Gerber. "It was nice to get the win in here. That was good for our confidence."

Mike Fisher had a goal and an assist while Chris Neil, Christoph Schubert and Patrick Eaves also scored for the Senators, who return home to face former coach Jacques Martin and the Florida Panthers tomorrow.

All eyes were on Gerber, who had lost five of his last six starts and has a 4-8-1 record. He made some big stops -- his best may have been on Justin Williams -- in the second period and it helped that the Senators played with confidence.

Signed to a three-year, $11.1-million contract as a free agent, Gerber has spent the last 10 days working with goalie coach Ron Low and, after a difficult five minutes, the hard work paid off.

This night didn't start the way Gerber or the Senators wanted. Andrew Ladd was left alone in the slot, and Gerber was out of position. Unable to glove Anton Babchuk's shot from the slot, Gerber threw out a huge rebound. With Gerber's skate caught on the left post, Ladd scored on only the second shot of the game to give the Canes a 1-0 lead at 2:30.

"He caught his toe on the post and it swung him a bit," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "Other than that, he was solid, square and just the type of guy that we thought we signed. After the first goal, we all kind of looked at ourselves and I just told (Daniel Alfredsson) to go to the talk the guy. He was a pretty good goaltender tonight."

Fortunately, the Senators were able to bounce back from the opening goal. Going to the net, Eaves picked up a Fisher rebound and was easily able to fire it past John Grahame at 6:11.

Perhaps the most questionable decision was made by Carolina coach Peter Laviolette, who started Grahame ahead of Cam Ward. Laviolette must have missed the former Tampa Bay goalies' 4.79 goals-against average against Ottawa in four games in the playoffs last year.

That had to be a boost of confidence for the Senators, who have now won five of their last six. With Ottawa about to make a line change, Alfredsson set up Fisher on a 2-on-1 to beat Grahame on the stick side at 10:07 of the second.

Grahame made a lot of good saves, but he couldn't make the big one when the Canes needed it most. It was Schubert's goal on a drop pass from Jason Spezza at 4:01 of the second on a blast high on the glove side that gave Ottawa a 2-1 lead.

"I was calling for it," said Schubert. "I was just lucky I was able to put it in."


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