Day 6 -- Comeback Kids Make Club History
10:00 a.m. – Players make their way across the parking lot to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for an optional skate prior to Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders. The walk is short (five minutes at most), so everyone opts for the fresh air. Fans wait in the lot right outside the hotel in hopes of getting autographs, and at one point can be seen chasing down Teemu Selanne as he makes his way to the optional skate. A group of about 15 fans move in unison around Selanne, who signs every single piece of memorabilia.
11:30 a.m. – Players begin making their way onto the ice inside Nassau Coliseum. It’s an old barn with plenty of history and character. Most of the seats are either blue or green, and the stairs are rickety and narrow. Originally opened on Feb. 11, 1972, Nassau is currently the second-oldest arena in the NHL. Only Madison Square Garden, which opened in 1968, is older.
11:55 a.m. – Some of the younger guys, including Kyle Palmieri, Patrick Maroon, Nick Bonino and Mathieu Perreault find great enjoyment from setting a big screen in front of goaltender Frederik Andersen while the 43-year-old Teemu Selanne floats shots in from the point. Though Selanne won’t play tonight, he skates at every opportunity. Head coach Bruce Boudreau once said the only way to prevent him from skating would be to hide his skates somewhere.
12:00 p.m. – Kyle Palmieri comes off the ice and is the center of attention from reporters in the locker room. Palmieri was born in Smithtown, N.Y., on the North Shore of Long Island, but grew up in Montvale, New Jersey. He had over 100 friends and family in attendance for the game in Newark, and says about 40-50 will be in attendance tonight. Palmieri was the overtime hero in Jersey, and good things will happen once again later tonight.
4:00 p.m. – The Ducks begin to make their way to Nassau Coliseum. The lower level of the arena is a maze of tunnels and hallways, and the Ducks locker room is situated at the end of a long, narrow hallway. It’s a small locker room that has a real damp, gymnasium-type feel to it.
6:25 p.m. – Mark Fistric is the first player to step out of the locker room for pre-game warmup. He waits in the tunnel, bent over, deep in thought before stepping onto the ice. Following him is starting goaltender Frederik Andersen, who takes a few steps down the hallway for some quiet time before making his way onto the ice.
Palmieri is one of the more vocal guys prior to warmup. As he steps out, he says, “Atta boy Freddy! Here we go Fisty [Fistric]!” He lines up in front of Fistric and gives two stick whacks on his shin pads before the rest of the team comes out. Once they do, he calls each of them by a certain nickname. Perhaps the best one is “chainsaw,” though the identity of that player remains a mystery.
6:30 p.m. – The Ducks are greeted by a large group of fans lining the glass. Jerseys of all kinds can be seen, including the current home and away jerseys, third jerseys, and classic Mighty Ducks sweaters. This is the largest turnout of Ducks fans so far on this trip, and they’re in for a good one tonight.
8:45 p.m. – Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf cuts the two-goal deficit in half by finishing a rebound chance in front of a mass of players surrounding Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov just 70 seconds into the third period. A loud roar erupts from the Ducks faithful in attendance as Getzlaf ignites an impressive third period rally.
9:05 p.m. – Mathieu Perreault wins a crucial offensive-zone draw and spins off of Frans Nielsen to bury a wide open chance that ties the game with 9:28 remaining in regulation. Perreault (5-10, 185 pounds) celebrates every goal like it’s his first, and this time leaps into the arms of the much bigger Mark Fistric (6-2, 230), who practically mauls him.
9:10 p.m. – Kyle Palmieri caps off a furious third period rally to score the go-ahead goal and eventual game-winner with 6:16 remaining in regulation. The goal is his second game-winner in as many nights, and the second in front of friends and family.
9:28 p.m. – Getzlaf scores into an empty net with 21.6 seconds remaining as Ducks fans say goodbye to their hats. The victory is sealed and the Ducks set a club record with their eighth consecutive road victory. The eight-game winning streak is the longest streak in the NHL this season. There have been three win streaks in the NHL this season of seven games or more – twice by Anaheim (8 and 7) and once by Vancouver (7).
10:00 p.m. – Rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm and Bruce Boudreau walk together on the way to the team bus in the loading zone of the arena. The 19-year-old has a bag of goodies and asks his coach, “Would you like some Swedish candy?” to which Boudreau replies, “What is Swedish candy?”
11:20 p.m. – The team departs Republic Airport in East Farmingdale, New York, for a 54-minute flight to Washington Dulles International Airport.
12:14 a.m. – Upon stepping out of the airplane in D.C., Cam Fowler can’t believe it’s currently 66 degrees here. When told tomorrow’s expected temperature is supposed to be in the 70s, his eye widen as he says, “Are you kidding me?”
12:45 a.m. – The Ducks arrive at the hotel located within walking distance of the Washington Monument, U.S. Department of Treasury, and The White House. They will play the Capitals on Monday night, not far away at Verizon Center.