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May 23, 2016

Ken Hitchcock

St. Louis, Missouri: Game Five

San Jose – 6
St. Louis ‑ 3


Q. Hitch, they scored an early goal in the third that they probably didn't have to work hard enough for. You never got the momentum.
COACH HITCHCOCK: I thought the killer goal was the third one. Third goal was the killer goal. We had the lead. We built some good shifts. They caught us on a little bit of a change. Took a penalty.
We were really doing well killing the penalty, but we made two mistakes killing the penalty. Got stuck behind the net.
I thought the energy on our bench, which was excellent, dropped a little bit after the third goal, not the fourth one. That was the difference.

Q. Hitch, had some good shifts tonight against Thornton's line. Talk about the difficulty over the course of 60 minutes of always knowing where those guys are and how to contain them.
COACH HITCHCOCK: I thought Stastny's line was outstanding against them. I thought they did a great job. You draw even against that line, I think Thornton's line scored one five‑on‑five, Stastny scored one five‑on‑five. I thought they were outstanding against them.
Where we made mistakes, we made mistakes defending on the back end, transition a little bit on the back end, made some errors there. That hurt us.
But that third goal was the killer.

Q. I know we've been beating this to death, the home record. The players are talking about being too cute. When does that end?
COACH HITCHCOCK: I don't think we were too cute. I don't think that was it at all. We made some puck errors under pressure. They get to play, too. Both teams played really hard today.
We were the ones that made the defending mistakes that ended up in our net. I think we made a few more defending mistakes than they did, and that hurt us tonight.
From an effort standpoint and from a cute standpoint, it's not really cute, it's wanting to do the extra to make the next play. I don't think we were guilty of that today. If we're guilty of anything, we made puck errors at the wrong time.

Q. Tarasenko again off the score sheet. Now you're one game away from elimination. How dire of a situation is it to get him going? Is it possible to get him going by next game?
COACH HITCHCOCK: Well, we have no choice. We have to bring it back for Game 7. That's the goal. He's part of the mix. He's a guy that's struggled this series. He's struggled offensively. He hasn't got the looks offensively that he normally gets. But he's one shift away from breaking it open.
It's like any other goal‑scorer, when they don't score, there's a frustration level that comes in. It's my job to make sure and correct the frustration level if I can.

Q. You said that home ice doesn't mean what it used to mean in the NHL. How do you explain the struggles at home?
COACH HITCHCOCK: I think each game's different in its identity. I don't know. It's hard to describe. The pressure to win at home is greater, and so is the discouragement if you're not doing well.
Winning at home right now in the playoffs is either feast or famine. You either look like you're a million dollars, or you get frustrated at times. I think from that standpoint there's a few times we've been frustrated.
Our expectations are high and we want to do well for the fans. Sometimes that cocktail doesn't mix very well.
I mean, if we could have eliminated the errors, there was a tremendous amount of effort today, but we did make big errors, and they came back and haunted us.

Q. You have had some success shutting down their power play the last couple of games. Where did the PK break down tonight?
COACH HITCHCOCK: This is the first time we made, in this series, checking errors killing penalties. That hurt us today. Both power plays were scored because we made checking errors. We tried to pour numbers into a battle we should have stayed away from.
We made errors. A couple young guys made mistakes that a year from now they're not going to make.
We made mistakes at the wrong time against good players who can keep plays alive. They kept plays alive. We were looking for the clear. We shouldn't have poured the numbers in where we did.

Q. You've faced this situation before, winning two Game 7s. This has been a good run for your team. Do you expect a completely new level of desperation in Game 6?
COACH HITCHCOCK: I think they're going to try to hit us with a knock‑out punch early. I think they're going to try to play the same way they did against Nashville. Our job is to answer the bell. We fully expect that's what they're going to do. Our job is to answer the bell.
The longer the game goes, the closer it is to our advantage. That's what we have to look at, extending the game. We don't really care where we play. We are capable of playing a little bit better than we played today. That's what we're going to look for.
However they play, we kind of see the blueprint. We know what they're going to do. They're a real good team. So are we.
I think the biggest thing for us is if we can continue to get the effort we got and eliminate some of these big errors, I think we got a chance to play for a Game 7.

Q. In the third period with the score 4‑3, final 15, 10 minutes, describe the effort you saw in your team. Were you pleased in that? Did you want a little more?
COACH HITCHCOCK: I think what we would have liked was to have the puck on the stick of the people who can score. We had a lot of work and a lot of workers doing the job, but for us to score, we probably needed the puck on people's stick who can score. That probably was a little bit of frustration for us and for those players.
You know, it's like anything else. I knew when it went 4‑3, with the energy level that both teams had poured into this game early, I knew, and I told the players going into the third period, this is going to be a one‑goal hockey game.
I could tell both teams were right on the edge and ledge energy‑wise. It was taking a lot out of both teams. First two periods were exhausting.
I knew whoever got the lead, it was going to be an uphill climb for the opposition. They were the one that got the lead early.

Q. What did you think of Jake? Will you stick with him in Game 6?
COACH HITCHCOCK: I thought he was fine. I don't know, those are decisions we make in a day or so. But I thought he was fine today. He stopped some point‑blank shots, especially early, three times early.
I don't know. That's stuff we'll talk about tomorrow.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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