|Senators goaltender Martin Gerber is making his third straight trip to the Stanley Cup final. Photo: A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
Ottawa Senators goaltender Martin Gerber considers it a blessing to be part of a third straight Stanley Cup final.
Gerber, who backed up Cam Ward last season when the Carolina Hurricanes won the Cup against the Edmonton Oilers, also reached the final in 2003 with the Anaheim Ducks as the backup to Jean-SÃ©bastien GiguÃ¨re in a seven-game series loss to the New Jersey Devils.
"It's great to be here," Gerber says. "I'm very fortunate to be in the right spot at the right time. The guys here have done a tremendous job. I think this year, of all those three, we have the most depth and the most firepower. Everybody's confident and we have a good team thing going. We're doing all the right things.
"It's playoff time, and you really have to support your teammates. Just do whatever you can do. It's still fun, definitely more fun than playing golf somewhere."
Senators goaltending coach and professional scout Ron Low is proud of how Gerber, who won 10 of his last 12 games during the regular season, has accepted his role with the team.
"He's been nothing short of great. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the guy. He's worked hard everyday.
"The biggest thing of all, you don't get too many cheap goals on Martin in practice. He's a competitive guy. Very seldom does he take a drill off. He's been upbeat in practice. The players don't feel any negative vibes and that's important."
Ottawa Senators head coach Bryan Murray, who worked as Anaheim's head coach and later as senior vice-president and general manager for three seasons before joining the Sens in 2004, says Gerber's relationship with Anaheim's goaltending consultant, FranÃ§ois Allaire, might help his team learn some tips on what to expect from GiguÃ¨re in this year's final.
"FranÃ§ois is a very good goaltending coach and he has his players play a particular way. We hope it's a benefit to our team that we have Martin here and we can talk. The main thing is, if you give (GiguÃ¨re) a chance to be square, there's not many goaltenders that can block the puck better than he does. You have to make him move."
Gerber says his teammates should just stick with the game plan that has brought them this far.
"The biggest thing for us in any series so far is to get the puck to the net. That's what we have to do against GiguÃ¨re, too. There's no big mystery. Anybody in the world, you have to throw the puck at him and go after second and third efforts."
Gerber expects Ottawa's 24-year-old starter, Ray Emery, will shine in the final.
"(Emery's) a good teammate. I think he's all set to go. If we play good in front of him, he won't have problems. It's all about team in the playoffs. Guys have to block shots and get guys out of the way. It's not just one guy by himself who can do it, it's the whole team."