KANATA, Ont.-Entering his second season with the Ottawa Senators, Martin Gerber's seen his share of ups and downs as the backup goalie.
But with Ray Emery still sidelined with a wrist injury, Gerber is looking up as he heads into the regular season as the No.1 guy in goal.
Saturday night he was wasn't spectacular, but he was the difference as the Senators improved to 6-0-0 in the pre-season with a 5-4 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Daniel Alfredsson had a hat trick, but it was a 35-save performance by Gerber that allowed the Senators the opportunity to get to overtime, where Patrick Eaves scored the winner on the power play with 32 seconds to play in extra time.
Alfredsson and Dany Heatley picked up assists on the goal. Heatley had three helpers in the game.
Jason Spezza also scored for the Senators, but it was Gerber who made the biggest contribution as Montreal outshot Ottawa 39-22. The Senators did hold a 4-0 edge in shots during the overtime.
Ray Emery was expected to start the game, but isn't fully healed from a wrist injury that forced him to have surgery last June. Emery became the No. 1 early last season when Gerber struggled out of the gate. Now he has an opportunity to redeem himself.
"It is what it is. I just have to go out there and do my best and try to make the team better," said Gerber, who went on a Stanley Cup run with the Carolina Hurricanes the season before joining the Senators.
"I've been feeling better this year. I wasn't as worn out as I was the year before and I have a lot of energy. I think that's the biggest part. If you feel OK physically and mentally, things go much easier."
Mike Komisarek, Josh Gorges, Andrei Kastsitsyn and Mark Streit scored for the Canadiens.
Cristobal Huet started for the Canadiens and stopped nine of 12 shots before being replaced by Carey Price to start the third period. Price faced just 10 shots and one of those was Alfredsson's third of the night at 14:15. The Canadiens got that one right back, however, as Kastsitsyn scored just 10 seconds later.
Two minutes after that goal, Streit scored his first of the post season to tie the game 4-4 and force the overtime session.
The Canadiens sandwiched second-period goals around Alfredsson's second of the game. Komisarek cut the lead to 2-1 with a wrist shot over Gerber's shoulder, and after Alfredsson restored a two-goal lead for the Senators, Josh Gorges stepped into a point from the slot that Gerber didn't see and pull the Canadiens to within a goal at 3-2.
Alfredsson opened the scoring with his third of the post-season as was the final recipient of a giveaway by Canadiens defenceman Patrice Brisebois, who fanned on a clearing attempt from behind the net. Antoine Vermette was right there to collect the puck and send it out front to Alfredsson who put a one-timer passed Huet.
"It feels good obviously," Alfredsson said. "I was set up nicely on the first one by Vermette, on the second one I got a little lucky and on the third one we got the 2-on-1, and I was able to pick the corner.
"It always feels good to score, but if it wasn't for Gerber playing really well we wouldn't even have been in the game."
Spezza gave the Senators a 2-0 lead with just 29 seconds to play in the first period as his shot from just inside the blue line beat Huet.
The Senators were icing what will likely be there opening day roster with just one rookie, Nick Foligno in the lineup. Foligno was only in the lineup due to the injury of Dean McAmmond.