Sens lovin' Gerber

Ottawa Senators' Chris Kelly (22) avoids a hit from Florida Panthers' David Booth (46) during...

Ottawa Senators' Chris Kelly (22) avoids a hit from Florida Panthers' David Booth (46) during action at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa on Wednesday. (Sun Media/Sean Kilpatrick)

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

Win No. 598 of Bryan Murray's coaching career had to look pretty good to the Senators' veteran coach.

Some solid goaltending by the backup goaltender.

Some scoring from different places on the roster.

They added up to a 4-0 win over an undermanned Florida Panthers team and former Senators coach Jacques Martin in front of a Valentine's Day crowd of 18,561 at Scotiabank Place.

Only four head coaches have hit the 600-win plateau in the NHL and Murray is on the cusp of joining an elite group of Scotty Bowman (1,244), Al Arbour (781), Dick Irvin (692) and Pat Quinn (657).

Murray's coaching record now stands at 598-456-143.

Not bad for a guy who doesn't have a contract for next year, huh?

It was a good, solid, all-round team effort, the kind Murray has had his team working toward since September.

"We played really efficient. We didn't give up a lot chances and (Gerber) made some stops when he had too," said Murray

With Senators No. 1 goaltender Ray Emery serving the first of a three-game suspension, Martin Gerber picked up his first shutout in a Senators uniform and levelled his record at 9-9-0-1 this season.

The shutout -- he turned back 28 shots -- was the seventh of his career and his first in just over a year (Jan. 7, 2006).

The win extended Gerber's personal streak to four games and he's now won six of his last seven decisions.

"He looked good. He was square, he didn't look like was going to give up a goal," said Murray.

It turned into a bit of a goaltender's battle with Panthers veteran goaltender Ed Belfour, playing back-to-back nights for the first time this season and coming off a shutout in Montreal on Tuesday night, playing strongly for Florida.

The Senators got goals from defenceman Chris Phillips, and forwards Mike Fisher, Mike Comrie and Dean McAmmond for their 33rd win of the season.

Phillips was allowed to romp down the left-wing boards eight minutes into the game and galloped around the net. He spun out in front and slipped a shot by Belfour on the short side to make it 1-0 for his eighth goal of the season, a new single-season high for him.

Belfour had the tougher stops.

Senators winger Chris Neil cut in off the wing during a Senators power play 13 minutes into the third and Belfour turned him back with a double stack of his pads.

He made an outstanding stop on Fisher at the five-minute mark of the second, moving over and getting his right pad on Fisher's low shot from the slot.

A couple of minutes later, Fisher made no mistake. After a turnover by Cats defenceman Ruslan Salei behind the Florida net, Ottawa's Peter Schaefer centred the puck to Fisher, who scored his 11th of the season.

Fisher had an eventful night.

He fought with Panthers centre Chris Gratton in the first period after Gratton stuck him in the back of the leg off a faceoff.

Gratton wound up getting the worst of it, however, as Fisher had his helmet and visor on for all of their scrap and Gratton wound up making his way to the penalty box flexing his fingers.

Florida winger Gary Roberts, a guy a lot of Senators fans would love to see in their colours for the post-season, showed he's still feisty and involved. He roughed up Schaefer in the first and wound up with a slashing penalty and took a good run at Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov near the end of the second. He caught Volchenkov in the side of the head with his stick, dropping the big defenceman to the ice.

Comrie capitalized on a 5-on-3 advantage in the third period to make it 3-0, jumping on a loose puck and tickling it off the post and behind Belfour. It was Comrie's 14th goal of the season and his seventh with the Senators in 17 games. McAmmond made it 4-0 with a dandy backhander off a setup from captain Daniel Alfredsson.

The win last night was the Senators' third in a row and if they keep it up, Murray could hit the 600-win mark Tuesday. After hosting the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday (3 p.m., CBC), the Edmonton Oilers will visit Scotiabank Place Tuesday night.


Videos

Photos