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On The Road: Game Day In Carolina

The Avalanche closes the road trip against the Hurricanes

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

The Colorado Avalanche is on its last day of the season-long road trip, and it concludes with a game against the Carolina Hurricanes. The team arrived in Raleigh close to 1 a.m. the previous night, so rest is key for the players as they get ready for the second half of a back-to-back and fifth contest in the last seven days.

11:00 a.m.: After a light breakfast at the hotel restaurant, many of the players went to one of the ballrooms for a light stretch with strength and conditioning coach Casey Bond. It is an optional session, and players trickle in and out during the hour-long timeframe.

12:00 p.m.: The Avalanche holds a team meeting to go over some video from last night's game at the Buffalo Sabres and look at the Carolina Hurricanes. The meeting last 28 minutes, after which the players go to a ballroom next door for a pregame meal followed by the traditional game day nap.

5:00 p.m.: The club's second charter bus leaves the hotel and heads to PNC Arena carrying most of the players. The first trip to the rink departed 45 minutes earlier. When the players get to the arena 20 minutes later, they finalize their preparations for that night's contest; getting their sticks taped, checking equipment, stretching and, of course, many of them take part in the pregame soccer game.

7:38 p.m.: Colorado's game against Carolina gets underway. Tyson Barrie struck first for the Avalanche, but the Hurricanes countered with a late goal in the first period to tie the contest going into the intermission. That was all the scoring during regulation, as the teams played a tight, back-and-forth outing.

In overtime, the Avs were on the power play for most of the first two minutes of the period, but they couldn't score. However, Colorado stuck with it and Mikko Rantanen tallied the game-winner with just 37 seconds left before the tiebreaking shootout to give the Avs the win.

10:14 p.m.: The final horn sounds, and the Avalanche staff quickly packs up for the long journey back to Colorado. While there has been urgency after every game for the team to leave the rink during the trip, it was especially the case on Friday as there was a three-hour flight ahead of them back to Denver.

10:56 p.m.: Colorado's charter buses pull away from PNC Arena's loading dock and head to the airport. Once there, the team quickly loads up onto the airplane for the journey back home.

11:39 p.m. ET: The airplane takes off from the Raleigh airport and travels west. The atmosphere on the flight was more lively then during previous stops on the roadie, with music playing throughout the trip and plenty of laughs to go along with it. Things did get quieter as the flight progressed with more and more players getting in some sleep.

12:46 p.m. MT: The charter flight lands in Denver after three hours and five minutes in the air. Everybody gathers their belongings and head to their cars to drive back home. Saturday is an off day for the team, so the players will be able to get a good night's rest and not have to worry about rushing to the rink for practice.

Sunday will be the next time the Avs get together as they prepare for that night's home contest versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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