SEASON REWIND: NATHAN GERBE
Tuesday, 06.14.2011 / 3:32 PM / Features
By Rob Crean - Web Content Coordinator
|Nathan Gerbe (Photo: Bill Wippert)|
In his first full season in the National Hockey League, Nathan Gerbe established his position among Sabres forwards by recording 16 goals, 15 assists, 31 points, a +11 rating and 34 penalty minutes in 64 games for Buffalo. He also scored two power play goals and three game-winners. While he did not qualify as a rookie, Gerbe’s first full season saw him rank sixth on the team in goals and 10th in points despite missing eight games with a broken jaw and not dressing for 10 other contests. After being a healthy scratch on multiple occasions during the first half of the season, Gerbe dressed for all but one of the team’s final 41 games. He also scored two goals while appearing in all seven of the Sabres’ playoff games.
SECOND HALF SURGE:
After scoring one goal in the team’s first 41 games of the season – of which he appeared in 24 – Gerbe exploded in the second half of the season, recording 15 goals and 9 assists while appearing in 40 of 41 games. His 15 second-half goals ranked third on the team behind only Buffalo’s top two goal-scorers on the season, Thomas Vanek (17 second-half goals) and Drew Stafford (16 second-half goals). He also recorded a +10 rating during the second half of the season as the team went 25-11-5 in that span. The Sabres were 10-1-2 on the season when Gerbe scored a goal and 19-2-4 when he collected at least one point.
|Photo: Bill Wippert|
Gerbe’s increased production in the latter half of the season coincided with the frequency with which he shot the puck. In the first half of the season, when he scored one goal in 24 games, he averaged just 2.1 shots per game. When he scored 15 times in his last 40 games, Gerbe averaged nearly a full shot per game more. On 12 occasions during that span, he recorded four or more shots in a game, including eight in a Jan. 21 game against this Islanders, which marked the highest total by a Sabre this season. His 171 shots on the season ranked seventh on the team.
SCORING IN THE CLUTCH:
Gerbe finished the season with three game-winning goals, all of which came in the final month of the season, and scored several clutch goals down the stretch as Buffalo pursued a playoff spot, eventually clinching in the second-to-last game of the season. Most notably, he scored two goals in that clinching game, a 4-3 overtime victory over Philadelphia in the regular season home finale. With Buffalo needing just one point to clinch a playoff berth, Gerbe tied the game with a highlight reel goal (see video below) late in the third period to force overtime and give the Sabres the necessary point to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A few weeks earlier, he scored both goals in a 2-0 road win over Montreal on March 22. He also tallied the game-winning goal in victories over Ottawa (March 13) and New Jersey (March 26).
BY THE NUMBERS...
|Photo: Bill Wippert
Gerbe set a team record when he scored two goals in a five second span against the Islanders on Jan. 21, one second shy of the NHL record.
Multi-point games recorded by Gerbe. In those games, the Sabres went 5-1-0.
Gerbe tied the season-long goal streak by a Sabres player with a pair of three-game goal scoring streaks. The first came January 20-23, and the second took place March 19-22. In both three-game streaks, he scored four goals.
Gerbe was credited for delivering 53 hits during the regular season, which ranked him fifth among all Buffalo forwards. He also registered 20 more hits in just seven postseason games to rank second overall on the Sabres and just one hit behind the team-leader in the category, Patrick Kaleta.
Here's a look at three of Gerbe's signature goals from the 2010-11 campaign - the two goals he scored in a five-second span against the Islanders to set a club record, and the spinning backhander against Philadelphia that helped the Sabres clinch a playoff berth in the regular season home finale.