Day 5 -- Hometown Hero

Saturday, 12.21.2013 / 1:57 AM

9:00 a.m. – Players start making their way downstairs to the hotel’s restaurant for breakfast before their 11:30 morning skate at Prudential Center. This is the third day in Jersey City, but the team will bus to Uniondale, New York immediately after tonight’s game in Newark. Anaheim will take on the Islanders tomorrow night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

10:00 a.m. – The Ducks board their bus set for Prudential Center, normally a 20-minute commute. But traffic comes into play this time around and the duration of the trip turns into 33 minutes in length. Nevertheless, the Ducks arrive and prepare for their skate.

11:30 a.m. – Unlike two days ago when the Ducks had to make a long trek to the practice rink's sheet of ice from their locker room, today’s walk is a short trip through a hallway and onto Prudential Center ice. Morning skates are generally 30 minutes or less in length, and today’s session is no different. Players start coming off the ice around 11:55 as head coach Bruce Boudreau gets ready to address the media.

12:00 p.m. – Boudreau is greeted by a large gathering of media members who have assembled outside the Ducks locker room. He answers various questions, including the team’s extensive travel, the ageless Teemu Selanne and the emergence of 19-year-old rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

12:30 p.m. – Players board the bus for the drive back to the team hotel. The routine is the same pretty much across the board: pregame nap followed by a light snack before taking the bus back to the arena for the game.

1:30 p.m. – Alonzo López ‏(@BonzoMarchi) is the winner the @AnaheimDucks ticket giveaway contest for tonight’s game. Fans are given clues on the whereabouts of the tickets, and Alonzo is the first person to arrive at the hockey player sculpture outside of Prudential Center.

5:00 p.m. – A large group of fans are waiting behind the arena for a chance to meet the Ducks as they get off the bus. Andrew Cogliano is one of the first off, and signs autographs and takes photos with Ducks fans before heading inside the arena. Teemu Selanne draws the loudest ovation as he steps off the bus.

6:30 p.m. – The Ducks step onto the ice for pregame warmup in front a large group of Ducks fans along the glass. Some traveled from Southern California, while one fan drove from Georgia to watch her favorite team play.

7:07 p.m. – The puck drops and Anaheim’s second game of the road trip is officially underway.

9:35 p.m. – Montvale, New Jersey native Kyle Palmieri scores on a nifty wraparound in overtime to give the Ducks a 3-2 victory in front of over 100 friends and family. Palmieri is mobbed along the boards by his linemates. It’s a fitting end for the hometown hero.

10:00 p.m. – After finishing his postgame interviews, Palmieri walks down the hall and opens a set of double doors. A loud cheer erupts as he opens the doors. He signs autographs, takes pictures, and shares a tender moment with his mom, who embraces him in a hug.

10:35 p.m. – The buses depart Prudential Center for an hour-long bus ride to Uniondale, New York, the site of Saturday night’s game against the New York Islanders.

11:35 p.m. – After encountering heavy traffic getting out of Newark, the team arrives in Uniondale. The team hotel is directly across the parking lot from Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where the Trans Siberian Orchestra is finishing up their concert. TSO fans mingle in the hotel lobby as players make their way to their rooms.

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