Gerber saving his best

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

It starts out with just a few moments and then they begin to string together.

You get a run like Senators goalie Martin Gerber had last night and, suddenly, it seems, it is there: Momentum.

"We talked about it (yesterday) morning," said Senators centre Jason Spezza after the Senators' 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins last night. "We felt the tide was shifting for us. It's time to put everything personal aside and start buckling down and getting wins."

Gerber rode the crest of the wave, climbing it last night with a save on Boston's Phil Kessel just past the five-minute mark of the second period in a scoreless game.

His left pad thrust out as he faded to his right, his toe turned back the final of a number of feints by Kessel, who had broken in for a clean chance.

Seconds later, Dany Heatley scored his first of three goals on the night and the Senators were on the way to their second straight win.

You have any more doubts about who's the No. 1 goalie?

"(Gerber) played huge. He made some real solid stops," said Heatley. "He gave us some real steady play. That's the way he's been playing for a couple of weeks."

"Game-changing stuff," was the way Spezza put it. "(Saves) like that change games and lead to wins."

The win sets up a showdown for first in the East tomorrow night in Montreal between the Senators.

After a brilliant start this season, Gerber came back to Earth and both he and Ray Emery failed to find their stride under former coach John Paddock's "win and you're in" approach.

When GM Bryan Murray took over behind the bench, he turned to and stuck with Gerber, despite losing the first three on the Western swing.

Last night's game was Gerber's sixth straight start, and his game escalated from competent to brilliant, starting with that save on Kessel.

"I wasn't sure he was going to shoot and then I thought he would go backhand," said Gerber. "Then he made that quick move across (on his forehand). I just tried to hold him back so he couldn't reach across again. Good thing he's not 6-foot-4."

The Senators have been a fragile team, struggling to score goals lately (just three in their first three games on the swing before four in their win over the Coyotes), so it is not hard to figure out how things might have gone against the Bruins if Kessel scored.

The Bruins, stingy under coach Claude Julien, would have tightened the screws.

Instead, Heatley's 33rd of the season at 5:44 of the second gave the Senators the lead. Heatley made it 2-0 at 11:05 on the power play when his rising shot found the top of the net to the left of Bruins goaltender Alex Auld.

Gerber shone again, stopping a 2-on-1 seconds before Spezza scored his 28th of the season. Dennis Wideman broke Gerber's shutout bid at 17:34 of the third off a scramble and Heatley added an empty-netter for his hat trick.

Not since the start of the season, when one of our national newspapers was anointing the Senators "the best team ever," has Gerber been a man so fully in control -- in a positive way -- of his team's fortunes.

For one more day, at least, the Senators goaltending controversy has been stopped dead in its tracks, like a puck off Kessel's stick.


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