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June 8, 2016

Peter DeBoer

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Practice Day

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did you go from giving up 40‑some shots to the Penguins to 20 last game?
COACH DeBOER: Well, I think we did a better job, better sticks. Jumped to check in D zone coverage. I think early in the series, we were just giving them a little bit too much room. They slung a lot of pucks to the net.
Our awareness in that area was much higher. Our guys did a good job.

Q. Having coached against Phil Kessel for a while in Jersey and now here, do you see any difference of a player of the guy you saw three or four years ago or is he just as effective, and the guys he's playing with, the system is different?
COACH DeBOER: Yeah, I don't know. You'll have to talk to them about Phil Kessel. If you want to talk about our guys, I'm more than happy to give my expert opinion. I don't have one on Phil.

Q. What is the message to your guys? What do you say to them today, tomorrow morning, tomorrow night?
COACH DeBOER: Well, I think the results are closer than it feels right now, I really do. We had some good looks. They've all been one‑goal games, or late‑in‑the‑game losses.
I think it's closer than it feels and we've got to give ourselves an opportunity that if they stumble, we're going to jump on it.
I think the one thing about our group is there's a lot of belief in our game and in each other. The other thing about our group is they've been on the other side, up 3‑0, saw how quickly that vanished against L.A. three or four years ago. We have some guys that vividly remember that. They know how quickly a win can turn the momentum.

Q. Out on the ice today your guys looked really loose, smiling, having fun. Do you sense that? Is that going to be important to keep that attitude going into tomorrow night?
COACH DeBOER: Yeah, I mean, this group is like that every day all year. I'm glad that I saw that today. You're never sure, considering the circumstances. I would have been worried had they come in quiet or dragging a little bit.
That was their usual. Burnsy was an ass out there running around (laughter). It was business as usual.

Q. I don't know if there's anybody in your room besides yourself that has had the experience of actually making a comeback from down 3‑1. The guys you mentioned that remember being up 3‑0, then losing it, is that a message that you want them to think about or is that a negative in some ways?
COACH DeBOER: I think every experience is important. I think the message out of that experience is they've been where Pittsburgh is sitting right now, saw how quickly that can turn if you lose a game or the momentum swings the other way. It can happen to anybody.
We also had Bob Boughner remind us that Steve Spott blew a 3‑0 lead against him in the OHL Finals. So That was a pretty humorous moment this morning, too.

Q. The way the schedule sets up, where the series is at, does that change player deployment at all for you?
COACH DeBOER: No. I think I said it yesterday. We're going to dance with the girl we brought to the dance. This is our group. We're going to go out there and play.

Q. Pete, there's obviously heat on Pavelski for not being able to score so far. He's wearing a C now. That's different for him. Do you get a sense that's adding a little bit more of a feeling of responsibility that's causing him to not be able to play his game so far?
COACH DeBOER: I don't think so. When you know Pav, he's going to take that responsibility on himself regardless of whether he's got a letter on or not. I think he has for more than this year, he's done it over the last four or five years for San Jose. That's just the kind of guy he is.
He feels he can be the difference in a game. He has been for us. We wouldn't be here without what he's done through the first three rounds.
I think it's very close. I thought that last game was his best game. He's close to breaking out here for us.

Q. Update on Tomas Hertl? Option here soon?
COACH DeBOER: Day‑to‑day. Day‑to‑day. In Czech that means out for the season (laughter). I've heard that means out for the season, but I'm not a translator.

Q. Pete, the things that made you guys such a good team during the regular season, being on the road, being able to bounce back, are those the things you lean on going into tomorrow night?
COACH DeBOER: Yeah, sure. We have been. We were the best road team in the league. We know that. I think we're confident on the road.
This isn't easy. It's a really hard thing to do. It's going to be hard for them to close us out. It's going to be hard for us to show up here tomorrow and win a game in this environment.
I think our guys are up for some heavy lifting. We feel we can get it done.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH DeBOER: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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