No more tricks, please: 'Hawks at Senators preview

It’s no surprise when a team catches fire coinciding with the return of its captain. The Blackhawks lumbered through the six games Jonathan Toews missed due to a concussion and began racking up points as usual once Captain Serious got back on the ice.

Similarly, the Ottawa Senators are back on track with the return of their captain, Daniel Alfredsson, who notched a hat trick in last night’s 5-1 win against Boston. Alfredsson has six points in two Senators victories following his 11-game layoff with an injury.

What this means is for the third straight game on this road trip, the Blackhawks are facing a team that’s clicking and playing pretty well of late. The ‘Hawks won each of the first two, and now have to hold off the Senators’ momentum they’re riding in a three-game winning streak. The Sens have vaulted into a fifth-place tie in the Eastern Conference with 54 points and post a 16-8-3 record at home.

The main reasons Ottawa stands where it is relate to the spotty-at-best goaltending of Brian Elliott and Pascal Leclaire, along with the disappointing play of newly acquired Jonathan Cheechoo. Brought in as a result of the Dany Heatley trade to San Jose, the former 50-goal scorer has five goals in 50 games thusfar. To put that in layman’s terms, that’s really shitty.

Cristobal Huet will get the start  against Elliott tonight. And while it may seem insane for a player of Marian Hossa’s caliber, he’s played for five different teams since the start of the 2004 season. One of those teams was the Senators, for whom he played more than six seasons. Hopefully he can re-discover some of the Ottawa magic which led him to scoring 30-plus goals four times while with the Sens.

Faceoff from Ottawa is 6:30 p.m. CT. Get some.

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