The Senators this week

This might be the Ottawa Senators’ greatest test this season, and not just because they’re taking on the reigning Stanley Cup champions in their own rink.

The Senators this week

TUESDAY AT CHICAGO

This might be the Ottawa Senators’ greatest test this season, and not just because they’re taking on the reigning Stanley Cup champions on the road. The Chicago Blackhawks last played Saturday night, when their lackadaisical performance turned into a 5-3 win for their opponents, the Minnesota Wild. That came on the heels of a 6-5 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday. Said captain Jonathan Toews after the latter defeat: “We know we want to be better than that.” So yeah, they’re in a bad mood. With an extra day to practice and sort out their game, they’ll be ready, and the potential is there for an ugly result if the Senators aren’t ready to play. One point of weakness though: Chicago’s PK is worst in the NHL so far.

8 p.m., TV: Sportsnet East, TVA. Radio: TSN 1200 AM.

FRIDAY VS NY ISLANDERS

This is the first of three meetings between these two teams. The Isles won the season series in 2013 with a 2-1 record, though one of those wins came in the shootout. As with the Senators, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag this year. On Friday they went into Pittsburgh and knocked off one of the league giants by a score of 4-3, then followed up with an atrocious performance against one of the league doormats Saturday in a 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. So, which team will the Senators see Friday? One thing is certain — they’ll be buzzing around the net all night. The Isles are seventh in goals per game, led by the surprising Frans Nielsen (7 G, 8 A in 11 games). Oh, and there’s that Tavares guy, who already has nine helpers this season.

7:30 p.m., TV: Sportsnet East. Radio: TSN 1200 AM.

SUNDAY VS DALLAS

At 4-5-1, the Dallas Stars are in last place in the surprisingly competitive Central Division. That they’re even treading water is also surprising, given how bad they’ve been statistically. Goals per game: 20th. Goals-against average: 22nd. Power play: 23rd. Penalty kill: 17th. Canadian Olympic snubee Jamie Benn and Boston Bruins castoff Tyler Seguin are the main weapons on offence, leading the way with 11 and 10 points, respectively, but keep an eye on young (23) winger Alex Chiasson, who’s right behind them with five goals and four assists. The good news for the Senators is the location of this contest. While the Stars are usually competitive in Dallas (3-1-1), they’ve been woeful on the road (1-4-0). This is a very winnable afternoon contest at Canadian Tire Centre.

1 p.m., TV: Sportsnet East, TVA. Radio: TSN 1200 AM.

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