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June 4, 2016

Peter DeBoer

San Jose, California: Game Three

San Jose – 3
Pittsburgh ‑ 2

THE MODERATOR: Questions for coach.

Q. How much did you know about Joonas at the start of training camp? How long did it take before you knew he'd be part of your team?
COACH DeBOER: I met Joonas at our development camp last July. I heard about his season in Finland. Our guys, everyone, felt that he had a chance to play down the road.
I think everyone first saw him starting in the American League. He was our best player in development camp. We went on to the main camp, he was the best player in the main camp, exhibitions. He just kept jumping over hurdles.
He's the real deal, a real good player for us. We wouldn't be here without him.

Q. Sidney Crosby was obviously so good in Game1 and 2. Tonight Vlasic sees a ton of him. What did you see from Vlasic against him?
COACH DeBOER: I thought Vlasic and Braun, you have to mention Braun when you mention Vlasic, too, I thought those two were excellent for us tonight, both ends of the rink.
Brauny got a goal defending, playing big minutes. They were fantastic.

Q. That four‑minute power play was about to expire. How big was that goal there?
COACH DeBOER: Yeah, well, I mean, huge. That was our opportunity. The door kind of opened up there. We haven't had a lot of power plays. We got one. We needed to cash in there.
Called the timeout in order to keep our first unit out. That's kind of been the history of our group, the second unit's come up big at different points for us. That's what happened. They hopped over for the last 10 seconds.
Wardo's been a big‑game player for us all year. A big goal.

Q. They use that chip play quite a bit with their speed. Seemed like you were reading it better. Was that a point of emphasis at all?
COACH DeBOER: That's a big part of their game. They chip to speed. I think some of the icing calls probably helped them because the ones that got waved off allowed them to continue their momentum. I thought there was a couple of questionable ones there.
But other than that, I think that's their game, and we're aware of it. You have to respect their speed. That's a huge part of what they do.

Q. Tomas Hertl had been probably the best skater in the first couple games. How big was it to get a win when he was out?
COACH DeBOER: It was big to get a win whether he was out or in. We needed to win this game tonight.
Our group all year has been next guy jump in. We wouldn't have made the playoffs if we didn't have that attitude. Logan Couture missed half the season. We had guys step in and fill those roles. Allowed us to keep our heads above water.
That's been our mindset all year. It was just the next man up. Guys got the job done.

Q. Your top line played some big minutes in the overtime period. How much of that was by your design and how much of that was them being hungry for ice time?
COACH DeBOER: They were feeling good tonight. The two days off helped. Obviously the biggest game of the year. At that point I thought we were going to live and die with the big guys. We needed the win.
It would have been nice to have been able to roll our lines all the way through, but it wasn't possible tonight. We didn't get enough good plays from some guys at the bottom. I thought those guys were rolling.

Q. Is Hertl a long‑term deal or might he be back Monday? Secondly, your observations of the atmosphere in here.
COACH DeBOER: Yeah, it was electric. It was amazing to stand back there. You could tell that these people have been waiting a long time. I think the guys really wanted to play hard for them. I thought we were a little jittery early probably because of that. I thought once we settled in, they were a big help for us.
It was a grind of a game out there. They were playing hard. They knew that they would have put us in a deep, deep hole tonight had they won. Our desperation level was as high as it could be.
Fans were a big help for us tonight.
Hertl is day‑to‑day.

Q. Burns had 12 shots blocked tonight. Is that a one‑game anomaly or something you'll have to look at?
COACH DeBOER: No, we're just going to keep shooting. They do a good job of blocking shots. We're going to keep shooting. There's no way around that. Just keep shooting and try to wear them down, try to find a hole. I think we did that a couple times tonight.

Q. Coach, you guys have played this team so tightly here in these three games. How big was it for your club to get over that hump and get the win?
COACH DeBOER: It's huge. It's the first time we've had the lead in this series. We have to go home. It's all right, I'm not complaining about it. We have to find a way to get out in front going forward. We've been playing from behind too often in the series. That's something that we want to talk about.
But it was a huge win. Changes the series. Now we've got to take care of business Game4.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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