The Ottawa Senators were one of the few teams that probably did not want to take a break for the Olympics. Despite some recent struggles, the New York Rangers may not have wanted to either.
Ten Olympians are expected to play when the Senators attempt to resume their hot stretch in a matchup with the Rangers on Tuesday night.
Ottawa (36-23-4) won 14 of 16 heading into the two-week break, capping the stretch with a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Feb. 14 to move one point ahead of Buffalo for the Northeast Division lead.
While the Senators hope they can maintain their pre-break momentum, the Rangers had also started to play well after a rough stretch. New York won three of its last four after going 3-9-0 in the previous 12, with two of the victories coming against New Jersey and Pittsburgh.
The Rangers may look to their Olympic medalists to help them win three in a row for the first time since a four-game run from Dec. 17-23.
Chris Drury scored two goals and Ryan Callahan had an assist in six games as the United States earned the silver medal, falling to Canada 3-2 in overtime Sunday. Coach John Tortorella served as an assistant to U.S. coach Ron Wilson.
"It was a great two weeks," said Drury, who has 10 goals and 12 assists on the season. "A lot of people laughed at our team when it was picked and we should be proud to get silver. There's 10 other teams that would like to have silver. It's pretty good."
Alfredsson, who had three goals in four games at the Olympics, and Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist were upset 4-3 by Slovakia as Sweden failed to defend its gold from 2006.
Alfredsson, Ottawa's leader with 49 points, will try to carry his offensive momentum back to the NHL. The right wing had one goal and one assist in his last five games, although he has recorded 13 goals and 21 assists in 25 games against New York.
Brian Elliott, who entered the break winning 12 of 14 starts with a 2.04 goals-against average, wouldn't mind getting that type of production from the Senators captain Tuesday. He has lost both of his starts against the Rangers despite posting a 1.46 GAA.
Elliott made 27 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss in the last meeting Nov. 14 in Ottawa, while Lundqvist stopped 35 shots.
Lundqvist, who led the Olympics with two shutouts, went 3-1-0 with a 1.76 GAA in his last four starts for the Rangers after enduring a six-game slide. He has won three in a row at Ottawa with a 0.98 GAA.
Looking to add some veteran depth behind Lundqvist, the Rangers claimed Alex Auld off waivers Saturday. Auld was 9-6-3 with a 3.00 GAA in 21 games for Dallas before being waived Wednesday.
New York's biggest concern could be Gaborik. The star forward missed two of the last three games before the break and was limited to four total minutes due to a cut on his right knee suffered in a collision with Lundqvist in practice.
Gaborik, though, played through the injury during the Olympics and recorded four goals and one assist in seven games. The right wing leads the Rangers with 35 goals and 69 points, and has three points in the three meetings with the Senators this season.
New York won the first two matchups with Ottawa before falling 2-0 on Jan. 14 at home.