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June 5, 2016

Mike Sullivan

San Jose, California: Practice Day

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Mike, you've worked with Matt Murray, you know him probably as well as anyone in the organization. How do you expect him to respond to last night's game whereby the standard he set in this playoff wasn't as good a game as he had in the past?
COACH SULLIVAN: He'll be fine. The one thing we love about him is his makeup and his ability to move by circumstances that maybe aren't what he had hoped they'd be, and just focus on the next game or the next save.
I think Matt, that's one of his strengths. His body of work throughout the course of this playoffs has been terrific. We know he's going to make the timely save for us moving forward.
I know Matt will respond the right way.

Q. Chris and Ollie absent from practice. Any concern?
COACH SULLIVAN: Maintenance days.

Q. In Malkin, you have one of the few guys in the league, who is capable of, by himself, doing things that almost go against all scripts. When he's buying into the team concept, it seems like that sometimes helps get him going.
COACH SULLIVAN: He's such a talented player. He has the ability to be a difference maker on any given shift. We certainly don't want to discourage him from that.
I think one of the things we've always impressed upon our group is we are a coaching staff that doesn't believe in taking the sticks out of their hands. We want our players to make plays. We want them to act on their instincts. We also want them to have calculated risk in mind.
When we always use the phrase 'we want to play the game the right way,' a lot of it starts with the decisions we make with the puck, with an understanding of situational play.
Geno is no different. He is buying into our team concept here. He's been a big part of this playoff success. But certainly I know that there's another level that he has to help us win.
We're trying to encourage him to find that balance in his game of making those plays when the opportunities present themselves, and when they're not, to make the simple play.

Q. Do you think he should be holding the puck a little bit longer? Do you think he's giving it up too quickly?
COACH SULLIVAN: I'm not sure he's giving it up too quickly. When you get this far in the playoffs, the teams you're playing against, they defend hard. There's not a lot of ice out there. I don't know that anybody has the puck on their stick for any length of time out there.
I think it's hard to do it by yourself. I think the give‑and‑go game, the cooperative game, is the game that's being played out there.
I think Geno is going to be fine. I know he's going to be a big part of the next few games here. He's an elite player. When he plays the game the right way, he's a threat out there.

Q. Do you think you've reached the part of the playoffs where there's going to be less penalties called? If so, how important is it for you guys to get your power play sort of on track?
COACH SULLIVAN: Well, I think there is less penalties called. It just seems like that's the trend in the playoffs. You usually don't get a lot of opportunities on the power play. If you have a chance to make it work, that's great.
I thought last night the biggest challenge that we had was on our entries. We only had one power play. We struggled with any sort of clean entries and it limited our zone time.
For me, that's the most important part, from my experience of coaching our guys. When they have established zone time, they usually make plays, they find the plays that are there, they create scoring opportunities. Last night that wasn't the case. We didn't have sufficient zone time to give the power play a chance.

Q. I think it's now Game 6 of life without Trevor Daley here. How have the defensemen as a collective progressed?
COACH SULLIVAN: I think they've done a terrific job. They've all stepped up. Some guys, we've asked them to play more significant roles. I think these guys are giving us everything they have back there. They're blocking shots, they're defending hard, they're helping us come out of our end zone.
Brian Dumoulin, his game has evolved. We're asking him to play in certain power play situations, he's killing penalties. He's playing in every situation both offensively and defensively.
I think collectively as a group, they're giving us everything they have.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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