Their success at the Olympics shouldn't be surprising. San Jose is in first place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of Chicago, and New Jersey is in second place in the East.
Both teams will have to adjust as the Olympians filter back in for practices. After 10 days away from the rink, Sharks coach Todd McLellan has called this past week a "mini training camp."
"There's only so much you can do with 10 players," he said. "The on-ice part of it is important. But the meetings we have prior to it as well as the review of a lot of video stuff is crucial right now for the players that are here."
It was an especially helpful time for newly acquired defenseman Niclas Wallin, who played four road games with San Jose after being acquired in a trade with Carolina. Wallin had never even been to the Sharks' practice facility before Wednesday.
"They use a different kind of hockey language here," he said. "They use different phrases. That's the biggest adjustment to get used to. I'm so excited to be here. I'm like a kid in a candy store."
Wallin and the Sharks are eager to play again after losing 3-1 to Buffalo on Feb. 13 in their last game before the break.
The Devils got a chance to rest and clear their heads after stumbling into the break, going 5-10-2 despite acquiring Ilya Kovalchuk in a trade with Atlanta on Feb. 4.
"I think it was us just being tired," center Travis Zajac said. "It was a lot of hockey. Mentally we were not as sharp as we usually were and you can see it on the ice when things were not going right we weren't skating and moving the puck as well as we usually do."
Brodeur's demotion to Canada's backup goaltender provided some unexpected rest. He's having yet another outstanding season, posting a 34-20-3 record and a 2.32 goals-against average.
Brodeur, though, was showing signs of tiring, going 3-4-1 with a 3.20 GAA in his last eight games. He wasn't in net for New Jersey's last matchup with San Jose, a 6-5 Devils win Feb. 15, 2009.
New Jersey has won six of the last seven meetings.