An Olympic break was just what the Ottawa Senators needed, although most of the team didn’t get much of a break at all.
The Senators, who struggled to a 3-4-1 record in their final eight games heading into the Olympics, try to notch their second win in as many nights as they host the Washington Capitals.
Ottawa, which boasts nine Olympians on its roster, had a four-goal lead through two periods on Wednesday before holding on for a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Alfredsson played for gold medal-winning Sweden in Turin and arrived back to Ottawa after the team flight left Tuesday, but the Senators’ points leader arrived in plenty of time to snap a five-game scoring drought.
“I told myself not to try to think about it too much,” Alfredsson said of playing his ninth game in 15 days on two continents. “I felt not bad actually, not super but pretty good overall. It was a good win especially because we wanted to get off to a good start and this is a team we should beat.”
The Senators’ two leading scorers look to continue their success against the Capitals. Alfredsson has 23 goals and 14 assists in 33 career games against Washington, and Heatley has four goals and 10 assists in 14 contests.
The Capitals also won their first game post-Olympics, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 on Tuesday to snap a four-game losing streak. Washington has recorded just three wins in its last 11 games and will try to record back-to-back victories for the first time since winning four in a row from Jan. 13-21.
“It was a funny goal,” said Ovechkin, who scored five goals for fourth-place Russia at the Olympics.
The Senators have not lost to the Capitals in the last six meetings between the teams, recording five wins and a tie. After hosting Washington, Ottawa embarks on a five-game road trip and plays nine of its next 12 games away from home.