FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Stars did something important Sunday.


The Stars took the day off to rest and recover for the Western Conference Final.

Then, after skating at their practice rink Monday, they went their separate ways. Many said they would watch the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks play Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round later -- at least the start of the game, anyway. With face-off at 8 p.m. CT, getting sleep might be more important than staying up to find out the next opponent.

“Honestly, we don’t care at this point,” Dallas forward Matt Duchene said. “They’re both good teams, and it’s a pick-your-poison situation at this time of year when you get down to the final four. We’re just happy to have some rest.”

The Stars will take the day off again Tuesday before returning to practice Wednesday. Game 1 of the conference final is at American Airlines Center in Dallas on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET; TNT, truTV, MAX, SN, CBC, TVAS).

“I’m not worried about rust,” Dallas coach Pete DeBoer said. “I think it’s going to end up being [five days between games]. Honestly with the two series we just went through, I think we could use the time.

“I think it’s actually probably a perfect amount of time that we can recharge and get some guys healthy and get reset for the next round. Rolling that first round into the second round with the two opponents we had was a really tough run of hockey.”

The Stars just faced the past two Stanley Cup champions.

In the first round, they played the Vegas Golden Knights, the defending champions. They took a 3-2 lead in the series, lost Game 6 and had to survive Game 7 to advance, giving them one day to prepare for the next series.

In the second round, they played the Colorado Avalanche, the 2022 champions. Again, they took a 3-2 lead in the series. They trailed 1-0 entering the third period of Game 6 in Denver on Friday, but captain Jamie Benn tied it 1-1 at 1:56 of the third. Duchene gave them a 2-1 win at 11:42 of double overtime.

That was key. They had played 11 games in 21 days. Had they lost Game 6, they would have had to play Game 7 in Dallas on Sunday. Even if they had survived another Game 7, it would have caused more wear and tear.

“I think if you look at the Stanley Cup winners over the years, there is a common denominator there in a lot of those,” DeBoer said. “A lot of them have finished series off before the seven-game mark at different points. I think that’s important.”

This gives injured players time to heal. DeBoer said center Roope Hintz, who missed the past two games with an upper-body injury, is day to day and skated Monday before the full practice.

This lets players treat nagging issues. Forwards Tyler Seguin and Sam Steel also skated Monday before the full practice.

It helps older players like 39-year-old forward Joe Pavelski and 39-year-old defenseman Ryan Suter, but it helps young players like 21-year-old forward Logan Stankoven too.

“Early in the season, middle of the season, you go pretty hard in the gym [in addition to playing games],” Stankoven said. “It all kind of adds up, and then you don’t realize it. You’re in the third round of playoffs now. It’s nice to get just a little bit rest here. It’s huge.”

Duchene said he had dinner with his wife Sunday for the first time in probably six weeks, but for him, rest is relative.

“Oh, I can’t get away from anything,” he with a laugh. “I’ve got three kids at home, so I almost lost my voice from yelling yesterday. They were in fine form. Yeah, there’s no getting away for me. It’s hockey mad or dad mad at this point. There’s no nice rounds of golf.”

Pavelski got to have what he called a “pretty normal day” Sunday. He went to watch his 13-year-old son, Nathan, play hockey, then came home and cooked dinner. His mind was present with his family instead of on hockey.

“I’m sure at home at times, we’re there, but we might not be there,” he said. “There’s a certain level of engagement. You’re kind of just recovering, doing your thing. So, it’s nice to kind of get home and have dinner and hang out and do some of those things.”

Pavelski said the Stars must stay engaged at some level, though. Their next opponent will come to Dallas hot off a Game 7 win.

“Teams will be ready,” Pavelski said. “You get your rest, but you understand that engagement that’s going to have to happen Game 1.”