I confess, when I heard on the radio yesterday that Martin Gerber would be starting in nets last night for the Sens in the game vs. the Carolina Hurricanes, I felt a little bit queasy. While my team has been on a bit of a roll lately, Gerber has been on the bench, taking a back seat to Ray Emery, who has looked poised and strong between the pipes for the past few weeks.
However, a glitch on Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning resulted in a 3-1 loss, giving Coach Bryan Murray the opportunity to rest Emery and once again give Gerber another shot at what was supposed to be his job as #1 goalie for the Sens.
In the papers yesterday, they were talking about how it would hopefully be a fresh start for Gerber, who has been nothing short of disappointing since donning the Red-Black-and-Gold. It would be an opportunity to put behind him all those dismal outings, the soft goals, the blown leads, and all those lost chances. It would be an opportunity to return to the Great Martin Gerber who starred for the Canes for most of last season.
And yet, I wasn't feeling the vibe. I was nervous as hell. The truth is, despite getting a few points in the W column lately, I still think this is a very fragile team, and I had nightmares of Gerber being shaky, losing the game, and returning to that ramshackle, desperate club that we were less than a month ago.
Things didn't start off well. I missed the opening minute of the game, and as I came charging up from downstairs to take my spot on the couch in front of the TV, I realized they were already showing a replay for a goal scored by the Hurricanes.
So much for that fresh start. It sure looked like the same ol' Marty Gerber that I've been used to seeing all year long. Pathetic.
However, after that, a sort of miracle occurred. He actually stopped a few pucks. And within minutes, Patrick Eaves had driven a goal into the Carolina net, evening the score. Yes, there were small but deep breaths of relief all around.
Then, all of a sudden, my Sens of old were back again. They were playing as if it was Ray Emery in nets. Hell, they were playing as if it was Dominik Hasek in nets. He made the big saves. And they made it count on the scoresheet. They were looking like that well-oiled machine that had me dreaming of Stanley Cup victory last season. Perhaps those dreams aren't dead after all.
By the end of the night, Christoph Schubert, Chris Neil, and Mike Fisher had all capitalized, with the final score being 4-1 for Ottawa. Martin Gerber was named first star of the game, and I'm sure there was no one more relieved that the Gerbinator himself. He got his fresh start, and he was successful.
Now let's just hope this continues...