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May 21, 2016

Ken Hitchcock

San Jose, California: Game Four

St. Louis – 6
San Jose ‑ 3


Q. You said the other night that it was on you to figure out some changes. How much was tactical tonight and how much of it was desperation level?
COACH HITCHCOCK: A combination. A combination of things that we needed to do. A lot of it was on the players effort‑wise. Put a big step. Looked like the way we played in the Chicago series, which is a good sign. Some of it we did our job. So I think a combination.

Q. As far as Jake Allen being able to make those early saves, how does that calm your guys down and enable you to play the way you wanted to?
COACH HITCHCOCK: He only let one goal in. Any time your goalie lets one goal in, that's a really good sign. He only really let one in.

Q. Hitch, Brouwer and Brodziak gave you good games, scored goals. The way they played, are those two guys the ones they needed to follow tonight?
COACH HITCHCOCK: I think there's a number of guys that have a conscience of the team. When you just got to step up and play with a higher level of emotion, you can't just talk about it. You have to have people show you the way.
They're very good players. Know what the emotional level is. They've had experience. Know another gear. They found it.
When you have a few players like that... I thought Stastny stepped up today and did a great job for us. I thought we had some defensemen play awesome for us tonight.
When they raise their emotional level, it's a good sign. You got no other choice but to follow. I thought it was really good for us.

Q. Why were you able to transition pucks out of the D zone smoother today? Did you like the puck support?
COACH HITCHCOCK: I thought we did a lot of good things in Game3, too. We got them to turn the puck over a lot in Game3. We didn't make them pay for it. They made us pay for turning pucks over in Game3. We didn't against them. It looked like what it was.
Tonight we took advantage of some of the turnovers we created and scored goals on it. We created the same amount of turnovers, quite frankly, in Game3.
Everybody talked about the goals we didn't score because we didn't create odd‑man breaks because of it. Today we did. We created odd‑man breaks because of the turnovers. Hopefully we can jump on them again.

Q. You talked throughout the series about finding that next level. Is this what you were talking about? Do you think you can bring this forward into Game5?
COACH HITCHCOCK: Well, we showed the ability to do it in the Chicago series. This is a big step. This is catching our game again. We came here to win a hockey game. We did it. We got home ice back again. Now we got to bring our emotional level up.
We're playing in front of our fans. They're going to be right through the roof rooting for us. Our players are going to hopefully bring another emotional level that they can play at. It's when we play our best.

Q. You made so many changes. Did you feel almost like a mad scientist with all the different moves you made?
COACH HITCHCOCK: Well, I hope not, or else I'd be a golf instructor. I mean, I don't know. I kind of think I know what I'm doing. I mean, I know this is harsh to say, but I don't really care what you did for me yesterday, I just care about what you're going to do for me today, and I don't care about tomorrow.
I think the players recognize that. I feel for some of the players that didn't get to play today. But I got to do what's best to help us win hockey games. When I see something that's going, I hang onto it. When I see something that I know will work, I hang onto it.
We had an idea of what we needed. We put those players in. We challenged them. They did the job today again.

Q. You talked a lot about the fourth line before the game. They go out and get a goal for you tonight. Talk about your thoughts on them tonight.
COACH HITCHCOCK: I don't think they're a fourth line. They're a third line. When they play the way they are, if they continue to play like this, they're going to be a third line.
They can score. They're big‑body guys. They lean on you. They're physical. They're a third line. They're not a fourth line.
They're up to speed. They're up to emotional speed in the game. They're dynamic. They can give you fits because they control the puck and they can make plays in small spaces.
The goal is a perfect example. That goal is not surprising based on their skill level. All three guys are up to the emotional level of the competition now.
I treat them now like a third line, which is going to really help us. We're going to end up with two third lines on the team, which depth‑wise we needed today when Backes went down. It's going to really help us.

Q. What is the status on Backes and Fabbri?
COACH HITCHCOCK: I'll let you know in a couple days on both guys. Should be good to go.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH HITCHCOCK: He had pom‑poms out. He was cheerleading. He was doing a good job. We got tired of his voice, so we put him down (laughter).

Q. Obligated to ask. Do you stick with Allen? I know you're going to bark at me.
COACH HITCHCOCK: You know, I didn't think that question was coming (laughter).
I'll let you know tomorrow.

Q. You mentioned you have to make the decisions. How hard was it to make the decision to go with Allen? What do you tell Allen from today?
COACH HITCHCOCK: He only let one goal in. That second goal was blatant interference. I lost my timeout. I couldn't make that call. If I make that call, I win it. Shot the third one in. He only really let in one goal.

Q. Did he give you that spark?
COACH HITCHCOCK: He gave us exactly what we needed. He's a competitive son of a gun. We needed a battler in there. We needed somebody to really help us play better defense. We played with more passion in front of him in our own zone because I made the goalie change. I had to make that decision.
I just felt like we were allowing them too much easy space with Ells in there, and Ells was getting bombarded. We needed to just dig in a little bit deeper defensively if we were going to have a chance in this series.

Q. Ken, as this series shifts now to the final three games, how are the last three different than what we've seen?
COACH HITCHCOCK: For us to win, they have to be different. We have to play a lot of the way we played today if we expect to win. We played fast. We played physical. We created turnovers. We have to play like that.
If we do like that, continue down this path, I like our chances. I like our chances to win. That's the path we got to continue to play on for us to be successful.
Doesn't matter if it's San Jose, Chicago, Dallas. We have a method to our game. We have to get to it. Today was a day we got to it. So hopefully we can continue and progress from here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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