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May 13, 2017

Mike Sullivan

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Pregame

Q. Mike, I wanted to ask you about Carter Rowney. I thought he had a real impactful performance in Game 7. Where is his game now compared to where it was a couple of months ago when he first started getting into the lineup?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I think he's really grown. His confidence has grown a lot in the time he spent here at the NHL level. He's a really good two-way player. He's a real versatile guy. He's a center by trade, but he can play the wing. He's a real good penalty killer. He's got a physical edge to his game. He helps us in a lot of ways. When he's been in our lineup, he's certainly a guy that we can count on that we know is going to help us win.

Q. When you're facing a team whose most dangerous player is a defenseman who plays half the game, does that make you less likely to pursue certain matchups because he's just going to be out there anyway? Or does that make you more likely to pick the spots where you can maybe have an advantage, you know, put a little more of a spotlight on that?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I don't know that we're going to look for a matchup against a defenseman. As you said, he's going to play half the game. So he's going to be on the ice a lot. He's a very good player. He's one of the elite defensemen in the league. We're certainly going to have to do our best to make it a hard game for him.

I think the way our team does that most effectively is with our own puck possession, in forcing him and more of their offensive players to have to expend energy defending us. I think that's an aspect of our game where I know our team can get to another level, and we're going to try to bring that more consistently.

Q. Just coming off such a hard fought, emotional series against a rival, best in the league, what's the message to your guys to get ready for this next game?
MIKE SULLIVAN: We just have to be ready to refocus our energy and reinvest ourselves into this series. We can't dwell on the past. We've got to turn the page and look to today's game and just stay in the moment. I think that's the most important thing.

So it always starts with an attitude and a mindset. We can't ease into this. We've got to make sure that we're ready to play from the drop of the puck. So it's really -- for me, it's about an investment, emotionally and otherwise, into this new challenge, and I think our guys are excited to play.

Q. When you get like, you know, this deep into the playoffs, two rounds in, is lineup continuity from game to game, is this something that you consider a luxury, or is it something that you don't even expect?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I don't know. We've got some moving parts. We believe we have a lot of depth in our -- within our team, and we can utilize guys in different ways to help our team win. So all of these guys that have been in our lineup here throughout the course of the playoffs have played significant minutes for us during the regular season. They've all been a big part of this team's ability to get to this point.

So we believe, as a coaching staff, that we'll lean on all of these guys to continue to help us win. We can only dress 12 forwards and 6 defensemen -- or 18 skaters and 2 goalies, I should say. But certainly, our team is bigger than that. These guys, whether they're in the lineup or they're not in the lineup, they're everybody bit as important to helping this team win.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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