(SportsNetwork.com) - Tired of not getting positive results, the underachieving Ottawa Senators held a players-only meeting on Monday. On Tuesday, well see if the get-together pays immediate dividends when captain Jason Spezza and the Senators visit the Chicago Blackhawks for a battle at the United Center. Spezza, who is in his first season as captain following the departure of Daniel Alfredsson to Detroit, called the meeting and said the team had a dialogue for about 35 minutes. Count head coach Paul MacLean among those who think the meeting could help his team find its way after a 4-5-2 start to the season. "I think any time youre talking about things and finding solutions when you work in a group I think its a good thing and a positive thing, trying to find solutions," MacLean told the media after Mondays practice. The Senators enter Tuesday having lost two straight and three of their last four games. Since beating the Detroit Red Wings by a 6-1 score last Wednesday in the Motor City, Ottawas offense has been an issue as the club has managed just three goals over their past two games. After dropping a 2-1 regulation decision Friday against the visiting Anaheim Ducks, the Senators were handed a 5-2 defeat in Sundays home test against the San Jose Sharks. Ottawa did manage to fire 40 shots on goal against the Sharks, but San Jose goaltender Alex Stalock, making his first NHL start, turned away 38 of them. "Right now its not going our way, its just something you have to fight through," Senators forward Kyle Turris said. Craig Anderson allowed all five goals on 29 shots for the Senators in the loss. Ottawa will try to get on track tonight against a Chicago club it has little success against in recent years. The Blackhawks have won two straight, five of six and seven of the past nine meetings between the clubs and the Sens have lost four in a row in Chicago. The last time Ottawa won a game in the Windy City was back on March 28, 2001, when the Sens notched a 5-2 win. Chicago, the defending Stanley Cup champions, is coming off a 5-1 rout of the Minnesota Wild on Monday. The Blackhawks won the road portion of the home-and- home series after losing Saturdays 5-3 decision against the Wild in Chicago Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad each tallied a goal and an assist to help the Blackhawks halt a two-game losing streak. Nick Leddy, Patrick Sharp and Sheldon Brookbank added a goal apiece for the Blackhawks. "I liked the results of everybody tonight," Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a very business-like approach to the game, played with a purpose and got some contributions across the board." Corey Crawford turned away 29 shots in the triumph and he could get the start Tuesday on back-to-back nights. 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Its been 22 years since Rick Mears became the third driver with four Indy 500 victories.EDISON, N.J. -- Ernie Els sure didnt look to be down in the dumps for someone who has tumbled so far in the FedEx Cup. It was only a year ago that the Big Easy was the No. 1 seed going into the PGA Tours version of the post-season. He went to the top of the standings by winning a World Golf Championship in March, and stayed there for the next five months. This year, he wasnt even sure he would make it to The Barclays. Els was just outside the top 125 -- the cutoff to make the FedEx Cup bonanza -- and had to play last week in the Wyndham Championship to have any chance of making the playoffs. He tied for 30th and moved up to No. 118. "Its a little different," Els said Wednesday. "But I think this is almost a better mentality. I feel I need to be aggressive and get up the bloody points list. Otherwise, Im going home. Last year I was the No. 1 seed, but I wasnt quite playing as good as I was in March. This year, I feel like I have to make a move. And I feel a little more comfortable with that. "I had three good rounds last week, and I feel my game is coming along," he said. "Its a good feeling going in." Els is among five players who have made it to the Tour Championship -- and a shot at the US$10 million bonus -- each of the last four years. His chances of being in the top 30 are much more remote starting out at No. 118. Even so, his optimism remains high, and there are a couple of reasons for that. One is Heath Slocum, the poster boy for opportunity in the playoffs. Two years ago, Slocum barely got into the playoffs at No. 124, and then won The Barclays to secure a spot in the FedEx Cup finale at East Lake. Another is Martin Laird. He faced elimination in the first tournament last year until he was the runner-up at The Barclays, moving him up to No. 3 in the standings. He wound up 11th in the final standings and picked up a $300,000 bonus. The fifth year of the FedEx Cup playoffs gets under way Thursday at Plainfield Country Club, the fourth course used for the opening event, one that ends with a 285-yard par 4 that should deliver plenty of excitement. Along with a different course, theres a different look to the 125-man field. Tiger Woods, a two-time FedEx Cup champion and the No. 1 seed in three of the four years, failed to qualify for the first time when he missed the cut at the PGA Championship. The No. 1 seed is Nick Watney, whose two wins this year include a World Golf Championship at Doral. "I feel like Im in the best position I can be, and Im very pleased with the year so far," Watney said. "But we have a long way to go. Im excited to see if I can hold up in these next four events." Phil Mickelson kept alive his streak as the only player to be among the top 10 seeds in every year of the FedEx Cup. He is at No. 6 this year, and he has listed winning the cup as one of his goals. The change can be found more toward the bottom, where Els has plenty of company.dddddddddddd Padraig Harrington, a three-time major champion, nearly missed the playoffs. He closed with a 68 last week to tie for 47th. He then had to wait some two hours to see if it would be enough to qualify for the post-season. He barely made it, finishing at No. 124. He studied accounting in college, so the Irishman knew how close he came to missing out. And yes, he already has done the math at The Barclays, figuring he needs to be in the top 30 at Plainfield to be among the top 100 players who move on to Boston next week. Much like Els, he sees only opportunity. "Im of the opinion that Im in a great position going into this, that Im just like every other guy," Harrington said. "In order to win the FedEx Cup, youre going to have to win one of the first three events, and the last event. Ive got nearly the same chance as anybody else of winning this outright. I just need to perform a little bit quicker than other guys." Some of that is misleading, some of that is true. Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen has been among the top 24 seeds the last two years. Now hes at No. 101, meaning his season will end if he misses the cut, or perhaps if he finishes toward the bottom of the pack. His hopes are not as great, mainly because of a freak accident on his way to New Jersey. Before leaving home in Orlando, Fla., Goosen watched the track of Hurricane Irene. Just in case it turned toward Florida, he decided to push his boat into the garage. The front wheel of the boat trailer went over his right toe. "It went blue instantly," Goosen said. "I had X-rays and they said it was a fracture. But I dont think it is. Its not as sore as it should be. But all the other toes are getting sore now because Im walking funny." Indeed, it will be an uphill climb this week at Plainfield. "You just have to go for it, move up as much as you can as quickly as you can," Goosen said. "When youre in the top 20, you know youre playing well. When youre 101, you know youre not playing well, and you come into this event not as confident as youd like to be." And then there are players such as Rod Pampling, who arent sure what to think. One year, when the points system was too volatile, Pampling started at No. 33, missed the cut in the first two events and failed to be among the top 70 who advanced to the third round in Chicago. He has started much lower, at No. 98, and didnt last more than two weeks. This year he is at No. 115, remarkable for a player who only had conditional status this year. "Ive got nothing to lose," Pampling said. "You see these guys with what theyve done. If you finishing in the top three in one of these tournaments, youre good for the Tour Championship. Just to say youve got a chance to do something in one event is huge." ' ' '