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May 25, 2016

Peter DeBoer

San Jose, California: Game Six


Q. How important is experience?
COACH DeBOER: How important is experience? Well, I think it's critical. I think there's always exceptions, but I think from a coaching point of view it's important. Managing the emotions, having gone through it, a deep run once, I know I'm better prepared for it.
From playing, having those experienced guys in the dressing room is important. I think the fact that the guys have gone through negative experiences is important because they appreciate the opportunities I think a little bit more when they get a little bit older and have maybe got not where they want to go. I think we've got a group of guys that are like that.

Q. You've mentioned your experience the second time around. What have you done differently? What have you learned that you've adapted in this round?
COACH DeBOER: I think you just know what to expect more. I don't know if there's specific things I've done differently. I just think you remember situations.
I remember how we handled the extra day or the travel, flying the next day after a game as opposed to out that night because of the time zone. Just a lot of little details.
You've been there, you've seen those situations before, you know what has worked and what hasn't in the past. You're just a little bit ahead of the curve.

Q. Last game we saw maybe a couple undisciplined penalties lead to goals on both sides. Do you have to remind the team to avoid those situations or is that something they know at this point?
COACH DeBOER: I think guys know. You know, undisciplined, when you have a guy like Roman Polak, whose job is to punish the team on the ice, you're going to deal with some of that. You know that going in.
You know what, I don't see that as selfish or an issue. I see that as a guy that plays on the edge that steps over the edge. As a coach, you got to live with a little bit of that.

Q. You seem to have done pretty well in situations like this throughout your career. Is there a mode as far as closeout games or is it trying to do everything the way you did before? How do you approach a day like today?
COACH DeBOER: That's a good question. I don't know.
I think it's just the consistency and the message. We don't change anything. We don't change our meeting times or our message, make any kind of radical system changes or lineup changes based on the fact that we've got to win one more or we're facing elimination.
We just try and keep our game on track. If it's off track, get it back on track. Business as usual. That's how we've tried to approach it.

Q. How do you assess your third D pairing? Have you had to protect those guys much in this series?
COACH DeBOER: No, we haven't had to protect them at all. I think they've been excellent. They give a real dimension to our group. They're going to punish you when they're on the ice, and the other team knows that.
The minutes were down last game because Roman sat in the box for seven minutes. We haven't had to protect them. I think we're comfortable with them like we are with our four lines. If they get stuck out there, they're more than capable of getting the job done.

Q. Arguably every game going forward is the most important game in franchise history kind of thing. Do you care if they look at it that way, the players?
COACH DeBOER: Well, you guys keep asking about it, writing about it, it's hard to ignore (laughter).
I think we've been in that mode, that this is the most important game, for a while now. We were treading water around Christmas. There were some days there where you wondered whether we would find our groove.
I think from that point on, we've treated every game, when you're fighting for your playoff life right till the end, fighting for position in the playoffs, playing the L.A. Kings in the first round, every game has been the most important next game.
That's nothing new to us.

Q. (Question about the number of goalies used in the Conference Finals.)
COACH DeBOER: It's a great question. For me it's the same or similar to the way the game is going with your lineup. It's a war of attrition. The travel, the grind, it's no different on goalies. You have to be able to use four lines, six D, seven D, 13 forwards in order to play the type of game you want.
I think the goaltending is part of that, too. It's a position now that's so demanding and requires a lot of energy because the game is so fast. To have two is a luxury. But I'm not surprised that guys are using two.
I think it's the same philosophy as your team: you want energy, and if you've got a capable guy that's there, then why not use him.

Q. (Question about Martin Jones.)
COACH DeBOER: I think that's our group's makeup. I think he's part of that, for sure. This guy's composure, that's the word that keeps coming up with me. You wouldn't know after a game or the next day whether he got shelled and poled or whether he won 3‑0 against L.A. as a whole team.
He's just got that personality. I think it leads to what you see on the ice. That's a really calming effect on our team.

Q. There were mistakes in the games. What kind of things are you looking at?
COACH DeBOER: You know what, there's always little changes. We found a way to win in a tough environment after a tough game. I liked our effort and our compete. I knew we would bounce back. There's always little details you can clean up. We've talked about those.
I found with our group, if we're committed to the game plan and committed to competing, usually we get results. Despite some mistakes, I thought that was the case.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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