No goalie controversy right now

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

John Paddock wasn't wading into those waters.

The Senators coach was asked after yesterday's 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils if the Senators had a goaltending controversy.

"That's a loaded question," said Paddock.

"I don't think it's a controversy unless we go 82-0 and have to make a decision on who we're going to play going into the playoffs."

For the record, the Senators won't be 82-0.

There also isn't a controversy at this point, just the knowledge that Martin Gerber is capable of giving the Senators the kind of goaltending they need to have a chance to win every night.

He was solid again yesterday, stopping 27 of the 29 shots he faced.

He was beaten on two funny plays in front, a redirect by Arron Asham and a puck knocked out of the air by Zach Parise that barely made it over the line.

I'd say the closest thing the Senators have to a goaltending controversy is who is their second-best goaltender right now.

Given the evidence, I'd say it's Anton Volchenkov.

The Senators defenceman blocked another five shots yesterday, including one in a classic goaltender pose without his stick.

He now has 25 blocks in four games (the second-place guy is Maple Leafs defenceman Pavel Kubina with 14).

Going into yesterday's game against the Devils, Volchenkov was only three saves behind New Jersey's Martin Brodeur.

Late in the second period yesterday, the Russian Bear had lost his stick in the Ottawa zone.

New Jersey defenceman Paul Martin took a wrister from the top of the slot and Volchenkov, standing a few feet in front of Gerber, went into the classic goaltender stance and took the shot off his left arm.

The case for the other guys is pretty weak. Rookie Brian Elliott is Gerber's backup right now and he's still waiting to make his first save. Ray Emery is still rehabilitating his surgically repaired left wrist.

There can't be a controversy as far as the No 1 guy goes until Emery comes back and there isn't even a hard date set for that yet.

There might yet be a controversy once Emery returns ... and it won't take the Senators going 82-0 to spark it, just some strong play by Emery.

HEAR AND THERE

It was the 15th anniversary of the Senators' first game yesterday and that memorable win over the Montreal Canadiens. What a night that was at the old Civic Centre. On hand yesterday at Scotiabank Place was Neil Brady, who scored the first goal in Senators history when he tapped a puck in the open side on Montreal goaltender Patrick Roy. "As a kid they always taught you to keep your stick on the ice and it hit my stick," said Brady. "Thank God Patrick Roy was having a bad day." ... Brodeur lost his stick early in the third period and it wound up in the net. Martin handed him his and Brodeur made a save with it.

REVELATIONS

Parise wasn't so quick to heap praise on Gerber. "I think you have to give their 'D' a lot of credit," he said. "They do a pretty good job of blocking you out and letting the goaltender see the puck." ... The good news for the Senators yesterday was they gave the Devils only one power play after giving the opposition 20 power plays in the first three games. They killed off the delay of game penalty to D Andrej Meszaros and are now a perfect 21-for-21.

SPECULATIONS

What makes captain Daniel Alfredsson so important to the Senators? The points, obviously. He had a goal and two more assists yesterday, giving him eight points in four games. But how about his defensive play in the third when he came back to check New Jersey's Brian Gionta in front of the Ottawa net? Alfredsson took away a good scoring chance at a point when the Devils had just scored and had some momentum ... Senators W Chris Neil had another five hits yesterday ... we think. After knocking New York Ranger Sean Avery out of Saturday's game with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit, Neil wasn't credited with any (maybe if you get a penalty on the play, they don't give you a "hit").

THE BUZZ

The feeling is that under new coach Brent Sutter the Devils will be amore aggressive forechecking team than in the past. When they were down by a goal in the third, they showed they could do it, hemming the Senators in for long stretches in the last 10 minutes of the game.

JUST WONDERING

When things were going a little hairy in the New Jersey zone, Brodeur could always look for No. 27 to settle things down. That was Scott Niedermayer. Now it's Mike Mottau. Not quite the same, is it?


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