Sens won't throw goalie to the Gerb

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:32 AM ET

TAMPA -- The Senators are going to stand by their men.

In the midst of a six-game losing skid and preparing to face the Lightning tomorrow, the Senators are refusing to point fingers at goalies Martin Gerber and Ray Emery.

Gerber, who has been pulled in two of his last four starts, and Emery are under intense scrutiny right now, but the Senators know the goalies aren't the only ones who have to step up.

"It's not fair (to blame the goalies). It's not the goalie's fault," said Senators centre Jason Spezza.

EVERYBODY'S FAULT

"It's all of our faults. It doesn't matter if you're getting points or you're playing well. It's every forward. It's every defenceman and it's both goalies.

"We're in this together. I've said that the whole time. The only way we're going to win is if everybody plays well and plays better. We've just got to raise our level of play so that we're a better hockey club."

But goaltending is where every conversation about the Senators' skid begins and ends.

Gerber has given up 18 goals in his last four starts and hasn't been making the big saves he did earlier in the season.

Gerber, who has a 13-4-1 record, doesn't appear as rattled as he did last year when he struggled out of the gate. After he was pulled from Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Rangers -- giving up three goals on five shots in the first period -- Gerber said he doesn't have any "confidence" issues.

"I can't make any excuses. I just have to play the way I can play and play it simple," said Gerber. "(Today) is a new day and I just have to go out there to play the way I can. I've just got to be ready for the next game. That's all that really matters for myself."

While it's good for the Senators Gerber still believes in himself, coach John Paddock's hand has been forced, meaning Emery will get the start against the Bolts.

If Emery wins that one, he most assuredly will start Wednesday against the Panthers.

Paddock, who decided to start Gerber against the Rangers after the Swiss goalie gave up six goals in a 6-5 loss to the Predators on Thursday, said the goalies aren't the only players on the team who have to be held accountable.

"Not just one person is totally accountable or responsible," said Paddock. "It's everybody. The guys on the ice have got to do a better job. I don't think the finger can be pointed at one person or one player. That's got to be the emphasis here. You've got to be realistic."

TIME FOR NEW MASK?

So the only question that remains is whether Gerber, the next time he starts, will break out that shiny new Senators mask that's been sitting in his locker stall in the dressing room since the second week of the season.

"I don't think we're at that point yet," said Gerber.

ON THE ROAD: The Sunshine State lived up to its reputation when the Senators woke up here yesterday. While it's stormy in Ottawa with the Senators in the midst of a six-game losing skid, the players were quite happy to get out of Dodge to begin a three-game road trip. "I think it's a good time (to go on a road trip)," said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. Paddock could have cracked the whip yesterday, but the club had a planned golf event with a sponsor and, perhaps, getting away from the rink is exactly what the Senators needed. That doesn't mean Paddock isn't concerned with the way the club has played. This has to be somewhat embarrassing for a team that went to the Stanley Cup final last spring against Anaheim. "We've got everybody's attention now," said Paddock. "We're in a losing streak. It doesn't surprise me that it's a long winless streak."


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