This is looking a lot like deja vu. If you look at the beginning of last season - Gerber let in soft goals and the team struggled and were losing a lot of games. Emery then stepped in and gave his team a chance to win and took over the #1 job after Gerber was given miles of leash. Fast forward to this season - After a sizzling hot start by an unpressured Gerber, we see Gerber start to struggle, allowing numerous soft goals and being pulled twice (could this be due to the pressure to perform with a healthy and ornery Emery on the bench?). Emery steps in and gets 4 consecutive starts including tonight and is 2-0-1 in his previous 3 starts. Now some may argue that Gerber won back the number 1 job and should be given more leash to get out of his slump. I am not one of them. He was given all the leash he will ever get last season. To me it's a once bitten twice shy kind of thing. Gerber showed his difficulty in playing out of a slump last year and we can't afford to allow him another 5 to 10 games to play out of his slump again this time around. By no means am I saying Emery has won the number 1 job back but it is looking like he is well on his way to re-establishing his claim on that job. Emery has a few things going for him right now. The team is starting to play better which will allow Emery a chance to shake off the remaining rust and maintain game shape with the added starts. His wrist isn't quite 100% but it has to be better than playing through the injury for a full season and playoffs as he did last year. He played a very strong game in the net last year with an injured wrist and with his wrist healed up I look for even more improved play and much improved puck handling abilities.
So now on to the fun stuff - The prediction for tonights game. I see the Senators Defence being exposed early by the speedy and highly talented forwards on the Canes. The shot count will be heavily in favour of the Canes but Emery will bail out his team and we will see him steal the first period. The Canes will get sub par goaltending as they are still going through a slump which includes very inconsistant goaltending. The Sens will walk into the dressing room with a 1 or 2 nothing lead. A rejuvinated Sens team will come out and dominate the rest of the game and will finish them off with an empty netter for a final of 3 to 0.