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May 17, 2016

Nick Bonino

Sidney Crosby

Brian Dumoulin

Mike Sullivan

Tampa, Florida: Practice Day

Q. Sid, now that the series shifts here, just how important is it to kind of maintain the momentum that you guys got from the last game?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, especially in the third period, I thought we generated a lot more. We want to build off of that, but we also know they're going to be pretty fired up to be at home and expect a big push from that.
So just understanding that, but also, like you said, trying to make sure we kind of build on the momentum we had there third period and overtime.

Q. When you get thrown over the boards and play with Geno, what has to be the key for you guys to have success, and maybe what worked that last night for that?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I think that just hopefully it opens up some space for one of us. I think that he's able to carry a puck. I'm comfortable carrying the puck. So one of us can kind of get over the (inaudible) on the ice and create something. It doesn't always work that way, but I think when we're put together, our goal is to go out there and create something.

Q. I know Sully's plan was to get a little more physical with a guy like Hedman. It seemed like you guys were able to do that. Especially you got a couple hits on him. How do you think that worked out in Game 2?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah. I think no matter who the guy is in there, typically the guy hits a lot. But if there's opportunity to finish your hits, whether it's him or any other defenseman or another guy for that matter, in a playoff series, everyone has to get out of their comfort zone a bit and do that. I think that over the course of the series it could make a big difference, even over the course of the game, especially when you have a fast team like that, get a lot of different guys involved in the rush, that can slow them down a bit.
As long as you're smart going about it and not just running around trying hit everybody, I think we're better at that. We're not known as a physical team, but I think when it comes time to finish hits, I think we've done a good job of that.

Q. Back to the question on Geno, I think the natural thought would be if you guys are together, it would be a lot to handle or it should be a lot to handle, and you said it doesn't always work sometimes. Why not?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Well, we're not really thrown together all that often. We're probably spotted in a shift here, a shift there, and one or two shifts doesn't always mean you're going to make something happen right away with those couple of shifts. So it just really depends on the situation. There's so many factors, whether you win the face-off officially.
You know, just basically who you're matched up against. There's a lot of different things that go into that. So we could be thrown together and have to spend half the shift in there and we're not really able to create a lot. I think it's just a matter of understanding the situation. And we're thrown out there in the offensive zone late in the period, we know what we're going out there to try to do. Hopefully, we can make something happen and create chances.

Q. Do you think it generated some momentum last night when you guys were together? Did you feel it?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Well, first shift, we had a really good chance with that backhand, but it doesn't always happen that way. But when it does, we can hopefully build some momentum off of that. That's kind of the goal. I'm sure it's not going to happen a ton, but when it does, like I said, we know what we have to do.

Q. This is kind of more of an Xs and Os type question, but on the power play, a lot of teams have developed that late entry, kind of into the zone. Why? Why should that work?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, I mean, Detroit has done that for forever, and it just seems like a lot of teams developed that now as just a way of kind of getting a lot more gap between you and the penalty killers because you only have a couple guys come with that much speed in that much time, it's tough to defend. So it gets teams on their heels a little bit. Everyone has their own way of trying to defend it, but for the most part, I guess percentage-wise, if guys come back late, you have a lot of time and you're able to get in for the most part.
So a lot of teams have kind of developed that over the years. Detroit was probably the first one to do it. For whatever reason, it's kind of stuck and a lot of teams have gone with that lately.

Q. What do you think?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I'm good with whatever works, whatever gets us in there. That's something we've done for a while. Tampa does it. You know, you're looking at the other teams that are playing, they do a lot of similar things. You have to execute at the end of the day. You can draw it up all you want, but you have to execute it.
I'm for whatever gets us in there as much as possible.

Q. This seems like an appropriate time to ask this since this is a small group. What does this mean to you to go through this run? Last time you got this far, it ended so fast, and there was like no hope. What does this mean to you now?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Obviously, you take it a game at a time. You enjoy playing this time of year. You don't take it for granted at all, because it's tough to get here, and it's an opportunity that not a lot of guys get. We're fortunate to be here in this position, some of us a number of times, and it doesn't get any easier. So I think you just take it game by game and try to enjoy it. There's a lot of other teams watching this time of year that want to be in your position. So I think you just try to have fun with it as much as you can but also know it's a great opportunity and try to make the most of it.

Q. Sid, the advantage of the final line change, when you're the home team the coaches talk about, is that a real thing to you? Do you feel that, when you're playing at home, you yourself have an advantage with that last change? Or is the chaos of the game just the chaos of the game?
SIDNEY CROSBY: No, I think there's something to be said about that, I think, as far as getting certain lines out in the offensive zone. It doesn't happen a lot. It depends on the coaches too, depending on whether they're really committed to certain matchups or not. I don't think both coaches have really shown that they need certain matchups. But any time you can get a line out there in the offensive zone with a little bit of a mismatch in their eyes, I think mentally that goes a long way.

Q. Does that change series to series?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, like I said, depending on what the coaches are seeing out there as far as what they're committed to, going out of their way to get certain matchups. But, yeah, I think there's always a bit of an advantage there.

Q. Just asked Sid this. How important is it for you guys to kind of carry that momentum from last night, especially here being on the road now?
BRIAN DUMOULIN: It's important for us. That was the most important game for us in Game 2. Any time we have a win like that, we want to continue to build off of it, and I think it starts with Game 3.

Q. When Mike puts Geno and Sid together, what kind of lift does that give the group? When they shift like they had (indiscernible), do you feel a momentum in shift when those two go out there together?
NICK BONINO: You put two dangerous guys like that on the ice together, anything can happen. When they do play together, they usually get chances like they did. So we're happy to see that. We're happy to see the puck in Tampa's zone and making their deep play down there. That was a close one. That was a great save. But chances like that are pretty common with those two, and hopefully more too.

Q. This time of year, series are going to get physical. But given the makeup of the two teams, what are your thoughts on just how physical the first couple games have been?
BRIAN DUMOULIN: I think it's important for both teams, I'm sure, to get in the way. We have guys that like to jump in and play defensively, and they do too. I think facing checks is important. It's not just the guys who are known to do that. It's important for everyone to do that, and I think the series will get more and more physical as we go on.

Q. Do you guys think that there was more of an awareness from you guys in Game 2 about their ability to stretch the ice, use a stretch pass or skate it out in that way? Not that you didn't know they could do that, but after getting burnt by it once in Game 1?
NICK BONINO: Yeah, maybe a little bit. I think as you play a team more and more, you get to know their tendencies more and more. You can watch all the video you want from February when you played them, but seeing them play in Game 1 let us learn some stuff. We learned even more stuff after Game 2. So we'll be ready to go for Game 3.

Q. What did you see on the (inaudible), you started to play in the neutral zone and got (inaudible)?
BRIAN DUMOULIN: (Indiscernible) got past me being in the zone. Originally wanted to quick up it right back up to Sid and try to keep them on the ice. It ended up getting picked off, and the puck came back to me. Then Stralman was trying to come back in a defensive position. Rusty came off the bench, I think, with a lot of speed and made himself available for me. Then it was an easy pass. And him and Sid and Cully made a great play to finish off that goal.

Q. (Indiscernible) are paired a lot. (Inaudible). How big is that to play alongside a guy like him? How much are you enjoying it, I guess?
BRIAN DUMOULIN: Yeah, enjoying it a lot. It's awesome to be able to play with a guy as special as he is. He's so good offensively, but he's just as good defensively. He's so emotional out there. He plays every shift like it's his last. It's fun to play with a guy like that.

Q. You guys three straight overtime wins at home. The teams have been playing for 50 years, that's never happened in their history before. Just wondering the feeling going into the OT last night maybe compared to Game 1 in Washington. Can you gain confidence from winning overtime games?
NICK BONINO: I think so. I think we have to try for sure. Those are games where we poured it on in the third and didn't get it done. We're one shot away from losing two. So it was nice for us to get that. It was nice for us to get it quick like that.
We came out of the locker room, I think, the last two overtimes, last three overtimes at home. We've had a lot of jump. We've had a lot of speed. It was great to see Sid get that one right away. You know, didn't even really give him a shot. If we can win them quick like that, obviously, we'd like to.

Q. What worked so well in the third for us to pour it on the way you did? You obviously had a lot of shots in the third period of Game 1, too, but you were chasing it at that point. What was the difference last night?
NICK BONINO: I thought we played really well at their end, both with the puck and without. After we'd make plays and get shots, we recovered the puck well. When they had it, we reloaded well. We got above them. And if you want to win games against a team like this, you have to be smart because, when you do give the puck up, when you take shots, they're looking to go the other way.
They had a couple chances last game in the third where they could have hurt us, and our goalie came up big. So I learned from that. Tried to play in their end like we did in the third last game.

Q. I know I asked you about Hedman the other day, but how do you think your game playing worked against him last night? It seems like Sid was really physical on him at times too.
COACH SULLIVAN: Well, we obviously want to try to make it a hard game for him. He's a good player. He's a key to their success -- or one of the keys to their success. We've got to try to force him to have to work for every inch of ice out there.
You know, I thought we did a real good job as far as controlling territory, forcing him to have to defend us, and I think that's one of the best ways to play against elite defensemen is to force them to have to expend energy in their end zone defending us. When you can do that shift after shift, I think it can wear defensemen down.
So I thought for the most part, during the course of that game, we did a real good job in that regard, just as far as controlling territory, forcing them to have to play in their end zone. When that happens, they won't necessarily have the energy to go on the offense.

Q. What's your philosophy in terms of loading up a line like you do, can do with Sid and Geno, versus balancing it out? Is it by feel in a game of when to go? Or is it just situation?
COACH SULLIVAN: For me it is. It's a little bit of intuition. I mean, obviously, when we put those guys together, we're hoping we get an offensive spark and try to do it in an offensive situation where maybe we can create some momentum for our team.
You know, I think our balance has been the strength of our team over the course of the postseason and down the stretch during the regular season. So I think it's a little bit of both. But from my standpoint, I think it's just a little bit of coach's intuition, I guess.

Q. Why have coaches the last few years, Sully, turned in this delayed entry on the power play? It seems like everybody's doing it. Why do you think that is?
COACH SULLIVAN: Well, I think it's a copycat league. We're all learning from each other, and we're all stealing ideas from each other. You know, the technology is to great that there's no secrets out there because of the technology, and I think everybody in the league is doing their due diligence as far as studying any of the -- some of the evolutions or some of the new ideas that coaches come up with over the years.
You know, everything from that 1-3-1 power play to this delayed entry, where they're hitting the second wing after you back off of a penalty kill and they're flat footed and you come with late speed.
That's my best guess on why the league has evolved the way it is, but certainly it is a copy cat league, and we all try to learn from one another and try to take any advantages we can to help our teams win.

Q. How effective do you think you guys are in that?
COACH SULLIVAN: I think our group does an extremely good job. It's not an easy thing to defend. You know it's coming, and it's still hard to defend. So I think a lot of it is personnel based, and I think, when you have the right personnel, it becomes something that's very difficult to defend.

Q. Is it also intuition in terms of shortening the bench? Sometimes you do that when you're trailing and you're trying to get a spark, but even when it was even, you shortened the bench a little.
COACH SULLIVAN: Yeah, we did. Yeah, I think it is. It's a little bit of the coach's gut feeling on how to try to help your team win and get a spark. You know, that's something as a coaching staff we talk a lot about during the course of the game behind the bench, in between periods, that people -- part of our staff that watches from up top, from their vantage point, we have those constant discussions on who's playing well, who might be struggling, do we like the matchups? Do we not like the matchups? Do we need to make an adjustment? Or that type of thing. That dialogue goes on constantly with our coaching staff.

Q. Is there at all a concern with Conor Sheary and his ability to play through the bigger guys in this series, especially the bigger defensemen in this series?
COACH SULLIVAN: I don't think so. Conor's shown an ability to play against guys bigger than him his whole career. I think, even when he was in college, he was playing against guys who are bigger than him. So I think what Conor's done is he's found ways to be effective when he played against guys that are bigger than him.
It's no secret that his competitive advantage is his quickness and his elusiveness in tight spaces. I almost think sometimes bigger guys have a harder time with Conor because he gets underneath them, and he's quick, and he's elusive, and he's hard to handle in the tight space.
So I think Conor's done a really good job figuring out what works for him, and there's no doubt that he'll continue to help us in that regard.

Q. Mike, you talked in the Washington series about how some coaches like to match lines more than others against each other. Is there a real advantage, home and away, to having the final say on the person? I asked Sid when he was in here, and he said he does feel that at home that at times it is an advantage.
COACH SULLIVAN: It depends on what your strategy is. Certainly, it gives you the opportunity as a coach to put the people on the ice against who you want to play against. So from that regard, it is an advantage. I've always had the philosophy that, as a coach, you have to be careful that you don't get over -- if you get too concerned with the matchup, you can take your players out of the game, and instead of playing hockey, they're more concerned about who they're on the ice against.
So I've said on a number of occasions that, for me, it's, if you really want to get a matchup, you can win the matchup battle, but you can lose the war, and that for me is where I think there's a fine line.
We certainly try to get certain matchups that we think are advantageous to our group, but we also trust that our players could play against anybody, and the makeup that we have with our forward lines right now, we think we have that balance on every line where our guys can -- we feel as though they can play both ends of the rink and they can play against anybody. So we have a trust factor right now with the group that we have. Having said that, we still look for certain matchups, and it's easier to get them at home.

Q. Will you get Olli Maatta back in, and would you do it to go 11-7?
COACH SULLIVAN: We'll leave all options on the table.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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