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Gerber brightest light for Sens

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
He entered these Stanley Cup playoffs as one of the Ottawa Senators’ key question marks.

But fresh off a club-record 49-save performance Friday night, Martin Gerber has clearly shown already that his post-season play is worthy of an exclamation point — or two or three.

Though the Senators were outshot by a wide 54-30 margin in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final against the Penguins in Pittsburgh, Gerber’s play alone kept them in the game. The Senators nearly pulled off a stunning comeback, rallying from a 3-0 deficit to tie it early in the third before the Penguins pulled out a 5-3 victory.

The Swiss stopper’s teammates couldn’t say enough about his effort.

“Gerbs played so well for us. He was unbelievable,” forward Shean Donovan said of Gerber, who entered this post-season with only eight games of prior playoff experience. “When you get a goaltending effort like that, you want to take advantage of it.

“We have so much trust in Gerbs and we know we’re going to get lots more of that.”

Top prospects heading north

With the Binghamton Senators now officially eliminated from the American Hockey League playoff chase, expect to see several top prospects brought up to Ottawa to experience the Stanley Cup playoff atmosphere.

Russian forward Alexander Nikulin arrived at Scotiabank Place today and will practise with the team on Sunday. While head coach/general manager Bryan Murray said “there’s a chance” Nikulin could see some game action, he admitted a bigger picture is at play here.

“He’s another good young player that’s a real good prospect for us that, in the second half of the year in Binghamton, played pretty well,” said Murray. “We’ll try to bring another couple of players up, at least, on Monday when our recall time is over and have a look at these guys and give them a little exposure to the excitement and standard you have to play at come playoff time.”

The injury-strapped Senators are already getting plenty of mileage out of three players who spent a good chunk of the season in Binghamton — forwards Cody Bass and Nick Foligno and defenceman Brian Lee.

“(If not for) the injuries… they would have been the ‘new Senators’ coming into training camp (next fall),” said Murray. “I’m pleased with them and I know, if nothing else out of this for the short term anyway, they’ll get good experience, good exposure and it’ll help their summers a great deal as far as player development is concerned.”

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