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The Official Site of the Colorado Avalanche

On The Road: Preseason In Montreal

by Ryan Boulding / Colorado Avalanche



Wednesday

11:30 am - Players and staff walk the sunlit tarmac at DIA, boarding the charter and getting comfortable for the flight ahead. Once the plane is fully loaded, it’s wheels up. Destination: Montreal, Quebec.

6:30 pm - The bus arrives at the hotel in Montreal. There is a handful of fans lined up outside, hoping for a chance to get a signature or meet a favorite player. The team checks into the hotel and gets ready for dinner out on the town.


Thursday

8:15 am - The team trickles into the restaurant at the hotel, loading up on breakfast before the morning skate. Fruits, breads, and eggs are among the varied items on the menu. Once finished, players report to the bus for a 9:00 am departure to Bell Centre to begin preparations for an 11:30 skate.

9:45 am - The boys roam the dressing room and equipment areas preparing for the morning skate. Some cut new sticks to the correct height and tape the blades and handles. Others gather for a quick game with a soccer ball in an open hallway.

10:30 am - Head coach Patrick Roy addresses the throng of Montreal media prior to the skate, answering questions in both French and English. His return to Montreal is always a large media event and preseason is no different.

His top two lines for the game will consist of Matt Duchene centering Ryan O’Reilly and Borna Rendulic and Nathan MacKinnon playing between captain Gabriel Landeskog and Jesse Winchester.

11:00 am - Players and coaches take to the ice. They run the usual drills, working through lines and specific areas of emphasis for tonight’s pending match against the Canadiens. There are fans and media in attendance. Executive vice president of hockey operations and general manager Joe Sakic signs some autographs for young fans in Avalanche and Canadiens jerseys.

11:46 am - Players begin leaving the ice. The locker room is open for availability.

1:00 pm - Lunch time. A fantastic buffet is spread out in a banquet room at the hotel. There is plenty of food for everyone, including Salmon, chicken, soups, salad, pastas, rice, and various deserts and sweets.

5:45 pm - Players and staff are on-site at the Bell Centre. The pregame for most has begun. There are guys kicking the soccer ball around, taping sticks, stretching out and generally getting prepared for tonight's contest. The pregame skate is coming up.

6:59 pm - The pregame skate has started. Those in burgundy and white rush out onto the ice to some heavy rock music. Warmups run for approxiamately 17 minutes before last-minute preparations in the dressing room begin.

7:37 pm - The puck is down. Game on.
Avalanche starters: Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, Jesse Winchester, Nick Holden, Tyson Barrie, Reto Berra.
Canadiens Starters: Brandon Prust, Manny Malhotra, Michael Bournival, P.K. Subban, Alexei Emelin, Carey Price.

7:57 pm - Defenseman Tyson Barrie puts a rooftop rip up and over Price and into the Canadiens goal. He fires his shot from the doorstep of the crease after some hard work down low by Nathan MacKinnon. Ryan Wilson also gets an assist. Avalanche lead 1-0.

8:11 pm - The first period comes to a clsoe. Despite trailing, fans are still raucous and loud, chanting go Habs go. Each team took one minor penalty in the first frame (Daniel Maggio - roughing, Greg Pateryn - holding). Shots were 9-8 in favor of Montreal. Ben Street won all four of his draws in that stanza.

8:50 pm - The second frame is underway and the building erupts into eardrum-shattering cheers as Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty roofs a shot past Berra to tie the game on the power play. The lead was shortlived however, as a pretty, tic-tac-toe piece of passing from MacKinnon to Winchester and then to Landeskog led to an Avs goal from the captain himself. Being the halfway point of the constest, netminder Carey Price was replaced by former Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj. Avs lead 2-1.

9:10 pm - The period was one full of goalscoring as the Canadiens battled back to tie the game twice. Goals from Pacioretty and P.K. Subban bracketed one from Landeskog, keeping the game tied. Both of Montreal's tallies came on the power play. Subban's blast came from the point and went in high past Berra's blocker.

10:03 pm - Overtime is on the docket and new NHL rules in effect mean a dry cut of the ice before both teams switch sides for the longer change. Alex Galchenyuk scores the game-winner moments after a five-on-three ends for the Avalanche. The players hustle off of the ice and into the dressing room for media obligations.

11:13 pm - The team arrives at the airport, quickly loading up the charter so as to get in the air—and arrive in Quebec City—as soon as possible. The flight is blink-of-an-eye quick.

12:30 am - A tired crew enters the hotel and wanders to individual rooms. There's another long day ahead.

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