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Dallas Stars get some needed rest ahead of third-round date with Oilers

Players were starting to ‘run on fumes’ in NHL playoffs
Spectators react during the third period in Game 5 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series between the Dallas Stars and the Colorado Avalanche, Wednesday, May 15, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The Dallas Stars rested at home Sunday.

No game, no practice and no travel for the first time in a month since the start of the NHL playoffs.

“We were starting to run on fumes here at the end of this round,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “You can fill your tank up pretty quickly with a four- or five-day break. So a critical break for us.”

Dallas will host the Edmonton Oliers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday night. Edmonton beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Monday night to win that series in seven games.

“I feel like I got a lot of energy, but yeah, at times, you need some rest,” said centre Wyatt Johnston, the Stars’ top goal scorer with seven in the playoffs after 32 in the regular season.

Then again, Johnston just turned 21 years old last week.

READ MORE: Oilers advance to Western Conference final with thrilling 3-2 win over Canucks

The extra time between games should be beneficial for centre Roope Hintz, who missed the last two games against the Avs with an upper-body injury that also limited him to only 6 1/2 minutes in the first period of Game 4.

DeBoer said Hintz would have been doubtful had the Stars needed to play a Game 7 against the Avs on Sunday. Hintz, who had a goal and three assists in their Game 3 victory, left the fourth game after blocking a shot in the first period, and had gone down hard earlier in the game when cross-checked by Nathan MacKinnon.

The Stars wrapped up their series against 2022 Stanley Cup champion Colorado with an exhausting double-overtime win in Game 6 on the road Friday, with their 13th game in 26 nights ending after midnight. They opened the playoffs with a seven-game series win over Vegas, last year’s champ.

“We played two really, really good teams. It’s not easy to win even one game in the playoffs, let alone a full series,” Johnston said. “We obviously have a lot of confidence, and we obviously know it’s not easy, but it’s definitely good to be able to beat two really amazing teams so far.”

Stephen Hawkins, The Associated Press