Ottawa Senators Dany Heatley (left) and Jason Spezza take part in team practice in Ottawa, Saturday. (CP/Patrick Doyle)
The Senators went through a vigorous but brief final practice at Scotiabank Place on Saturday then departed for Anaheim a full two days ahead of their first game against the Ducks.
Sens coach Bryan Murray hoped the early departure would help his team adjust to the three-hour time difference and ensure no one would suffer the effects of jet lag.
"I think the guys will adjust fairly well," said Murray.
While Ottawa boasts a league-best 7-1 road record through the playoffs, the final marks the first time the Senators have had to venture outside the Eastern time zone.
The 8 p.m. ET start time for all games in the series though should help the Senators.
"I think you just have to change your game day preparations a little bit," said centre Mike Comrie. "You start focusing the night before and maybe keep things a little simpler. When you're on the road it's easy to find time to rest."
Captain Daniel Alfredsson was excited to make the trip, but admitted he would be keeping things pretty simple upon arrival.
"I'm just going to try and stay on Eastern time," he said. "I'll probably go to bed early, around 9 p.m., and then get up early the next day."
Most of the players agreed that the excitement and anticipation of playing for the Stanley Cup would help eliminate any residual jet lag.
There was a definite air of excitement as the Senators went through through their final preparations Saturday morning.
"It feels like things are finally getting under way," said Wade Redden. "Once we get on that plane we'll know that things have started.
"I think the guys are really eager. We've skated and worked hard and the guys are hungry to get out there."
By the time the puck drops Monday night (8 p.m. ET), the Senators will have had more than a week off, but Alfredsson doesn't feel the long layoff will affect their game.
"It feels good to get closer, it's been a long week, but it was nice to regroup," he said. "I think the focus has been a little sharper the last few days. I think both teams will try to get off to a good start."
Game 2 is in Anaheim on Wednesday, then the series heads to Ottawa for Games 3 and 4.
Notes: C Mike Fisher skipped practice Saturday due to some soreness, but Murray said he would be ready to go for Monday's game.