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Ottawa goaltender Martin Gerber may get to face the team he helped win the Stanley Cup last season when the Senators host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
Gerber has split time with Ray Emery this season for Ottawa (5-6-0) after signing a three-year deal worth $11.1 million in the offseason.
Gerber went 38-14-6 with a 2.78 goals-against average in 60 games for Carolina (6-6-2) last season before Cam Ward emerged as the No. 1 goaltender in the playoffs. Gerber made six postseason appearances during the Hurricanes' run to the Stanley Cup, starting four times and going 1-1 with a 3.52 GAA.
"It's just a hockey game, anything can happen," Gerber told NHL.com about Saturday's matchup. "I don't think anyone has an advantage or anything. We had a great year last year but that was last year. This is a new situation. These are two real good teams, and we have to be ready."
If Gerber gets the start, he will likely have a healthier defense in front him as Wade Redden is expected to be back on the ice. Redden missed the last two games with a nagging groin injury before returning to practice Thursday.
"It was good to be back on the ice again," Redden told NHL.com. "(The injury) is getting better everyday. The time off helped."
Redden had a plus-5 rating over his last two games, and the Senators lost both of the games he sat out. It wasn't necessarily the Senators' defense, however, that let them down as much as their continued struggles on the power play.
Ottawa has converted just six of 64 chances (9.4 percent) this season, one of the worst marks in the NHL. Making matters worse, the Senators have allowed four short-handed goals.
The Senators failed to convert on five power-play chances in a 4-2 loss at Montreal on Tuesday and gave up a short-handed goal.
"It's discouraging, especially when you're not scoring on the power play," Senators defenseman Joe Corvo said of the short-handed goal. "It just makes it seem like it's going to be doubly hard to catch up because things aren't clicking right now on the power play."
Carolina has been hampered by a difficult early stretch in which it has played 10 of its 14 games on the road. The defending champions know they have another tough task on their hands Saturday night.
"They're a good hockey club, they're playing well," Hurricanes defenseman Glen Wesley said of the Senators. "We know they're good defensively. We're going to have to stay away from obviously turnovers and (we have to) execute and make sure we're getting pucks deep."
The Hurricanes couldn't take advantage of one of their few early home games Thursday night, falling 4-0 to Montreal. Carolina did not score on the power play for the second straight game, failing on eight chances.
"It's a tough loss for us because you want to try to build something," Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour said. "We need to get some momentum going, just we haven't been able to do that."