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February 25, 2017

Mike Sullivan

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh - 4, Philadelphia - 2

Q. Coach, I know you've been part of outdoor games before, but what was tonight like for you, particularly the experience behind the bench, the atmosphere and just getting the win?
MIKE SULLIVAN: It was great. You know, these events I think are so unique. I think they're all different in their own right, depending on the venue. But all of the environments, all the atmospheres, they're electric. I think it's a great opportunity for all of us to experience it. You know, it started yesterday with the practice outside and the family skate. I think it's great for our players.

It brings everybody back to their childhood days when they were skating outside on the pond. Fortunately for us, the weather cooperated, and it was cold enough that I think the ice was the best as it could be for this type of an event. But Heinz Field is just such a great venue; it was awesome to be a part of it.

Q. Did you ever think you'd see a 40-year-old veteran so excited to score, and on the flipside a pair of 22-year-olds so calm and cool about the stage and being able to really deliver on it?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Yeah, you know, it's really cool to see. We've got a unique mix of players. You know, we've got some veteran guys, and I think Cully probably -- he leads the charge there as a 40-year-old guy, and he might be closer to the dads' ages than he is to the players' ages. We joked about that on our fathers' trip a couple of weeks ago.

But I don't think Cully takes anything for granted. I think he really appreciates being part of this team and everything that this team has been able to accomplish over the last couple of years, and he knows that most of his hockey is behind him.

You know, every opportunity like this, I think he cherishes those moments, and he's still just a terrific player, and tonight is a perfect example. I thought his line was terrific. He did some great penalty-kill work for us, and obviously scores a huge goal.

Q. What did you make of Jake Guentzel tonight?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, Jake is a good player. I think he has such great offensive instincts. I think he has a quiet confidence about him. I don't think he gets overwhelmed by this type of an event. He has the ability to play with Crosby or Malkin or wherever you put him, he doesn't seem to get fazed, he just plays his game. I've said this before; as a young player sometimes, it can be intimidating to play with a player like Sid or Geno because there's expectations and there's pressure to perform and make plays, and so not every young player, I think, can handle that type of a situation.

I think Jake is a guy that has shown an ability to play in those circumstances. We've played him with Sid, we've played him with Geno, we've moved him up and down the lineup, and regardless of where we play him, he just plays his game. So regardless of what the stage is or who he's playing with, he just seems to have a quiet confidence about his own game and a maturity level that I think serves him well.

Q. Murray was tested in the first period. He actually admitted to a little bit of nerves before the game. Do you think it was good that he got through it and that he got tested early and could forget about the environment and forget about wind being a factor and just play the game? Do you think that factored into his performance?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I'm sure it probably did. I think whenever a goalie takes a lot of shots early in the game, it tends to get him into the game. Philly is a team that shoots the puck from everywhere, so I think sometimes when a goalie gets that much work early in a game, it can get him into the game. It can work one of two ways, and for Matt, I think it allowed him to settle into the game.

He's another guy as a young player that just has that makeup that he just -- he doesn't seem to be fazed or overwhelmed by any stretch by the stage. He showed that all of last year in the post-season, and so tonight on a fairly big stage and a game that has a lot of eyeballs on it, he just goes about his business and stops the puck for us.

I just think that's part of his makeup. I think that's part of what makes Matt as good a goalie as he is.

Q. With Murray because he is so young, do you almost want to see a youthful exuberance, not that he's nervous or anything, but just, again, to embrace the moment and not go about the normal routine?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I just think Matt is -- I don't know that he ever shows a youthful exuberance. Like we have some guys, some of our young players that do, and they bring a lot of energy to the rink, and that's great for our team. Matt is kind of a guy that just kind of goes about his business. He doesn't say a whole lot. He just does his job. He comes to the rink every day. He's a low-maintenance guy. He works extremely hard. He prepares the right way, and he tries to stop the puck for us, and regardless of how the game goes for him, some games are great, some games he'd like to be better. He just continues to, I think, go about his business the same way, and I think that allows him to sustain an element of consistency to his game because he doesn't get -- he doesn't seem to get rattled by any sort of discrepancy in his play. He just tends to react the right way.

I think, once again, that speaks to his character and the type of makeup that he has. He doesn't seem to get overwhelmed by any circumstance.

Q. I know you said yesterday that regarding Sid's past experience here, it kind of just is what it is, but having said that, seeing him score the opening goal here tonight in this place, how special was that scene?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, we were thrilled for him. You know, obviously I'm sure that the experience of coming back here probably brought back some memories that he probably would like to forget, and so to have a night like tonight and have an opportunity to play in such an exciting venue and start the game off the way he did and score a goal for us, you know, I'm sure probably helped him just put that experience behind him and just move forward.

I thought he had a solid game, Sid. I thought he played really well. His line was good all night long, and obviously he scores a huge goal for us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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