The Canucks are happy to be home after a four-game road trip, and eager for a more relaxed stretch of their schedule after playing 22 games over 46 days, including two separate swings through the Eastern Conference since the start of December.
"It was tough and we were on the road a lot during that stretch, so that takes a toll," Daniel Sedin
said. "We're used to that, so to some degree we're not as affected by it, but at the same time when you get home and get a few days off, I think you realize you need it."
Vancouver now hopes to recharge during a stretch that, starting with Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Kings
, will see them play just three games -- all at home -- over the next two weeks, including the five-day NHL All-Star break next weekend.
"I think it will be good for us to get some home time and some time away from hockey," continued Daniel, who, along with twin brother Henrik, defenseman Alexander Edler
and rookie Cody Hodgson
, will have the break shortened by participating in the All-Star Game in Ottawa. "It's been really hectic pretty much December until now. It will be good for us to get some practice and even some time in the gym, too, so it will be good."
But the players stressed a relaxed schedule didn't mean they could relax, a point proven by Sunday's lackluster, mistake-filled loss to Anaheim.
"We're obviously going to get some days off here, but when we practice we have to be sharp and when we're playing we have to make sure we're not coming out sloppy," defenseman Kevin Bieksa
said. "It's a fine balance, but it's something you need over the course of an 82-game schedule."
As for claims the Canucks have been guilty of overlooking lesser opponents since an emotionally-charged Stanley Cup Final rematch with Boston back on Jan. 7, they won't have that excuse with a rematch of the Western Conference Finals against San Jose next up Saturday. And games against archrival Chicago and Detroit right after the All-Star break should also have their full attention.
"There are important games in the next couple weeks that we have to take care of," goalie Roberto Luongo
said. "It gives us a chance to work on some stuff in practice. We always want to keep improving as a team and there's no better time to work on things."