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|OTT||0||0||0||0||1 (2 - 3)||4|
Although it likely won't be enough to take over the starting job, Martin Gerber's recent play proves that the Ottawa Senators have two very capable goaltenders.
Gerber looks to win his sixth straight start and help the Senators to a season high-tying fifth consecutive victory when they face the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.
Gerber has spent most of this season as Ray Emery's backup, but Ottawa's No. 1 goalie was recently suspended three games for slashing Montreal's Maxim Lapierre on Feb. 10.
Thrust into a starting role, Gerber responded in his first appearance in more than two weeks, making 28 saves for his first shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory over Florida on Wednesday. He turned away 28 shots again Saturday as the Senators (34-22-3) scored three third-period goals and won 5-3 over visiting Atlanta.
Jason Spezza had two assists Saturday, giving him two goals and four assists during a four-game point streak.
"It was a good hurdle for us to get over tonight, by showing that we could beat a physical, hard-hitting team," Spezza said. "It was a pretty intense game. It's playoff-type hockey."
Since starting 3-8-1 in his first season with Ottawa, Gerber has won seven of his last eight decisions. He's allowed nine goals during a personal five-game win streak.
Gerber will start Tuesday, but Emery, third in the NHL with a .923 save percentage, is eligible to return Thursday at Buffalo.
Ottawa, fifth in the Eastern Conference, has outscored opponents 18-7 during its four-game run. The Senators have been one of the league's hottest teams over the past two months, going 17-4-2 in their last 23 games.
The next victory for Senators coach Bryan Murray will be the 600th of his career. He would join Pat Quinn, Dick Irvin, Al Arbour and Scotty Bowman in that exclusive group.
Edmonton (28-26-5) has gone 0-2-1 on its seven-game trip and is eight points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Oilers allowed the first two goals and were unable to come all the way back Saturday in a 4-3 loss to Toronto.
"It's about playing consistent as a team and getting points and we're not doing that right now," left wing Ryan Smyth said. "Mental mistakes. Mental errors. Power play. It's tough getting one point in three games when you're battling for a playoff spot."
The Oilers made a trade Sunday, but not one that will help them make the playoffs this season. They sent defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron to the New York Islanders for defenseman Denis Grebeshkov, who's currently playing in Russia.
"We see the upside in the player we're acquiring," Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe said. "We see this as a long-term upgrade."
Edmonton was again without two regular forwards Saturday due to concussions. Center Jarret Stoll missed his seventh straight game, while right wing Fernando Pisani sat out his third in a row.
The Senators are 3-1-0 with one tie in their last five meetings with the Oilers. Edmonton, though, is 5-1-0 with two ties in its last eight visits to Ottawa.
|Feb 20 '07||EDM 3 at OTT 4 - SO||D. McAmmond|