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May 20, 2016

Mike Sullivan

Tampa, Florida: Game Four

Tampa Bay – 4
Pittsburgh – 3

Q. Coach, how did that start affect what you guys wanted to do?
COACH SULLIVAN: Well, it's hard to chase a four-goal deficit. You know, we certainly -- we were not the more determined team for the first half of the game, and so they were the more determined team.
And they're a good team. We knew this was going to be a hard game. We knew they were going to push. But I don't think we played -- we didn't play the way we've been playing that has allowed us the results that we've gotten here over the postseason.
We responded in the third period, but it's -- you know, there's just not enough time.

Q. What led to going to Marc-Andre at that point after the period instead of right after the goal, and just what did you think of him?
COACH SULLIVAN: After what goal?

Q. The last one.
COACH SULLIVAN: There was two minutes to go in the period.

Q. But what did you think of him in that third, especially that save on (indiscernible)?
COACH SULLIVAN: I thought he was solid. I thought he looked good. He was moving well. He made a couple of saves. So I thought it was solid.
The reason I didn't -- I switched was because I knew there was only a minute or two, and I think there was two minutes to go in the period. So it's a more logical change.

Q. Mike, I know you've mentioned you appreciate Letang's passion quite a bit, but in a situation like that, I'm guessing you obviously want him to handle that differently?
COACH SULLIVAN: Yeah, we'd like him to handle that differently. He's too important to our team, and that's what I told him. And every team we play against goes after him, and so for the most part here, this postseason, he's had great composure and playing the game the right way. But certainly, we would like him to respond differently to that circumstance, and he will moving forward.

Q. Mike, the fact that Marc-Andre has been the franchise goalie, that he's been through a lot of battles with these guys, would any of that, with what you saw from him tonight, play into your decision for who will start?
COACH SULLIVAN: I haven't really given it any thought at this point.

Q. Coach, with all the hoopla around your HBK line and other things, did that filter into the locker room? Was it a bit of a distraction to start the game?
COACH SULLIVAN: No, I don't think so. This is -- I think that's all part of the postseason. You know, as I said to our guys all along here, we can't listen to the noise outside of the team. We've got to make sure we keep the focus, and we've just got to continue to play the game the right way. We take each game as it comes, and we prepare the same way with the same focus and the same conviction and the same determination.
And I think our guys have done a terrific job for quite some time now at maintaining that necessary focus. I think we played a team tonight that was ready to play, that played extremely hard.

Q. Mike, when you noticed the team's emotions run a little too hot, are you ever tempted to call a time-out, or do you trust the guys to work through whatever's been going on?
COACH SULLIVAN: No, I trust our players. I think our -- one of the strengths of this group has been its resilience and its discipline, and we've played through a lot. We've been playing through this type of stuff for three months now.
Most teams, they try to play a physical game against our group, and our guys are used to it. They've responded the right way time and time again. I trust our guys. They know what they're up against. They're not naive by any stretch. They understand it, and they know what the response needs to be from our side.

Q. I don't mean to overemphasize the goaltending business, but just what was your reasoning for wanting to get Marc-Andre Fleury in there? Was it just a matter of knocking off rust, or did you think maybe it could change things in this particular game?
COACH SULLIVAN: Well, it gave Marc a chance, obviously, to get some game action. We're down four goals. Sometimes when you make a change like that, it has an impact on your team. You know, I thought the goals that we gave up, they were good goals on their part. You know, Matt made some big saves in there.
But certainly, sometimes when you make that decision, it can have an influence on your team moving forward, and it gave Marc a chance to get into some game action and get an opportunity to experience that.

Q. What can you say about Trevor Daley and losing him for the night the way you did, and if it's significant losing him going forward?
COACH SULLIVAN: I don't have any updates for you. He obviously has a lower body injury. We'll have more updates tomorrow, but he's an important player on our team. So when we lose him for the rest of this game, he's a hard guy to replace. He plays a lot of minutes. He plays in key situations. So when you lose him halfway through the game like we did and you get down to five -- it's hard enough going down to five, but when you lose someone like Trevor that plays important minutes for us, it just makes it that much tougher.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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