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Rangers-Senators: Scouting Report for March 2, 2010

Russell McKenzieCorrespondent IMarch 2, 2010

NEW YORK - JANUARY 14:  Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers tends net against the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden on January 14, 2010 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Olympic break couldn't have ended fast enough for the Rangers.

After going 3-9 over a 12-game stretch leading up to the Olympics, they began to find their rhythm again at the end and won three out of the final four contests heading into the two-week respite.

The Rangers sent five players to the Olympics, and three of them came back with hardware.

Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan helped Team USA reach silver, only losing to the Canadians in the gold medal game two days ago, and Olli Jokinen helped Team Finland to a bronze medal versus Marian Gaborik and Slovakia.

Speaking of Gaborik, he suffered a leg laceration before the Olympics and decided to play through it. Only time will tell how well that healed.

Ottawa is heading into this game with a similar situation. They had built momentum going into the Olympic break, winning 14 out of 16 games heading into the break behind the hot hand of goalie Brian Elliot.

This matchup could go either way. It all is going to depend on who is suffering the biggest Olympic hangover.  

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Keys to the game

The Rangers will again have two weapons to keep an eye on. Daniel Alfredsson came back from injury and immediately went on a scoring tear. Mike Fisher is the surprise this season, proving himself to be an extremely effective two-way player.

If Gaborik can play effectively and Henrik Lundqvist continues his return to a more solid form (3-1 with a 1.76 GAA), then the history between these two teams states that the Rangers will win.

My prediction: 3-2 Rangers

Also of note

Corey Potter was recalled from AHL Hartford to substitute for Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto, who suffered an abdominal laceration before the break, will be a game-time decision.

Between these teams, 10 players were Olympians. However, only one of the Senators, Jarkko Ruutu for Finland, returned home with a medal.

Lundqvist has historically done very well against the Senators in Ottawa, winning all three career road games, while sporting a 0.98 GAA in those matches. 

Aaron Voros and Enver Lisin were both put on waivers today.

In order to give Lundquist some veteran backup, the Rangers picked up Alex Auld, who was placed on waivers by the Dallas Stars.

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