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On The Road: Game Day In Winnipeg

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche is on a 15-day, seven-game road trip out east, tied for the longest such roadie for the club since the franchise moved to Denver in 1995. Colorado's last seven-game trip was Oct. 8-21, 2009. is blogging about the team's events during its two weeks away from the Mile High City.

10:00 a.m. CT

It's the final day of the Avalanche's season-long seven-game road trip, and club boards the bus for the last time on this trek for morning skate. The second bus leaves the team's downtown Winnipeg hotel at 10 a.m. and makes the short trip to MTS Centre for the pregame skate. The first bus left 30 minutes earlier.

11:30 a.m. CT

The Avs had a pre-scheduled off day on Sunday, so the coaches took advantage of the time they had with the players in preparing for tonight's game against the Jets. The team practices for roughly 30 minutes on the ice before going over video with the coaches.

Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy confirms after morning skate that Semyon Varlamov will play in goal, his first game since Nov. 5 at Arizona. In the seven contests since that outing in the desert, Varlamov had backed up Reto Berra for two of them before being sidelined with a groin injury for the other five.

Other than in goal, Roy says there are no other roster changes for the game as the team looks to close out its road trip with a winning record at 4-3.

Read more about morning skate.

12:55 p.m. CT

After the film session and media availability, the team rushes to the bus and goes back to the hotel for a pregame meal and nap.

4:45 p.m. CT

Colorado's second bus carrying most of the players and some of the staff leaves the hotel and makes the short trip to the MTS Centre for the evening's game. The first bus left at 4 p.m.

Once at the rink, the players go through final meetings and start stretching and warming up for the contest against the division-foe Jets.

7:07 p.m. CT

The puck drops in Winnipeg.

The Jets struck first as Toby Enstrom's shot from the high slot found its way to the back of the net, giving Winnipeg a 1-0 lead after the first period.

Colorado rebounded though, picking up two gritty, ugly goals late in the second and early in the third by Carl Soderberg and Cody McLeod .

Matt Duchene scored a pretty tally late in the final stanza on a drive to the net, placing the puck five-hole on Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson. Blake Comeau added an empty-net goal as the Avs won 4-1. Semyon Varlamov made 20 saves in his return to the crease.

McLeod, a native of Binscarth, Manitoba, set the tone against the Jets with a fight early on and physical play throughout.

Read more about McLeod and the Avs' gritty victory.

10:10 p.m. CT

The Avs' two buses depart MTS Centre and make the trip to the Winnipeg airport for the journey back home.

Once at the airport, the team goes through U.S. customs before boarding its charter flight to Denver.

11:35 p.m. CT

The team's flight is wheels up and makes the nearly two-hour trip south to the United States and the club's Colorado home.

There was a slight delay before takeoff as the plane had to be deiced prior to leaving the chilly conditions of Manitoba.

12:24 a.m. MT

After more than two weeks away, the Avs' airplane finally lands on Colorado soil.

The players and staff pick up their luggage before heading to their cars and transportation for the final leg of the trip-the drive back to their homes.

With a game scheduled on Wednesday at Pepsi Center, the team is set to have off-ice workouts on Tuesday at its practice facility at Family Sports Center. Only a few players will take the ice to skate and shoot, while the rest with do work in the gym.

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