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Wednesday, Mar 20, 2019
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What’s my room number? And other, more special, Lightning road-trip hallmarks

CHICAGO — Before all the Wild fans had the chance to leave Xcel Energy Center on Saturday night, reach their parking garage and let their cars warm up, the Lightning was probably already on a bus to the airport.

There, they would take a charter flight to Chicago, no more than a few hours after Mikael Granlund scored the winner for Minnesota in overtime.

Such is the life on the road for NHL players. You blink, and you're already on your way out of the city.

"When you come to the city, it's kind of the hotel, one restaurant and the rink," defenseman Braydon Coburn said. "It's like, 'Oh, I'm going to go visit New York City.' Well, it's a very short visit. You don't get to take a lot in."

The Lightning is in the middle of a five-game road trip, the first trip of its season.

It means bus ride after bus ride, restaurant after restaurant and hotel room after hotel room.

"The hardest thing for me is trying to remember the room number, going from hotel to hotel and room to room," center Tyler Johnson said. "It gets complicated."

Though many visits are quick, trips allow the Lightning to focus almost solely on hockey, away from the distractions of home. It allows for more team bonding, which often translates to memorable moments on the road.

Road trips can also produce special on-ice moments, too. Here are some of the answers Lightning players provided when asked about their most memorable road moments:

Johnson: "Usually when we have days off, we do different things. I remember one year, we went to the St. Louis Rams game. Stuff like that. It's just easier to get the team together compared to being at home. Guys have families and everything else that they have. It's just easier for us to be together, have some team dinners, tell some stories and kind of just bond a little bit."

Center Brayden Point: "I think playing in Vancouver was the coolest for me. I was a Vancouver fan growing up. Getting to play there was pretty special for me."

Defenseman Victor Hedman: "I think some of the cool stuff was probably (fellow Swedes) Mattias Ohlund and Markus Naslund getting their jerseys retired in Vancouver. We were there for that. We saw them get into the ring of honor at the same time in Vancouver. Two friends of mine, and to be around that was very special for me."

Left wing Ryan Callahan: "Probably go back to those dad trips. It's awesome to be able to bring your dad on the trip and be able to experience life on the road. (His dad is) one of the main reasons why I am even able to play in the NHL, and all the road trips he's brought me on … being able to bring him, share that lifestyle on the road I think is what I cherish the most. Luckily we've had six or seven (dads trips) now. It's been pretty good."

Defenseman Braydon Coburn: "I think maybe back to my first game. It was in Florida. It was the first road trip of the year. That's fairly memorable to me. And the first time I went back to Calgary. It was the closest place to home (Shaunavon, Saskatchewan) for me. I had a large contingency of people and family and relatives there at the game. That road trip, just the logistics of tickets and seeing people, and the excitement and nerves of kind of coming home was exciting as well."

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