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May 13, 2017

Mike Sullivan

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Postgamey

Ottawa-2, Pittsburgh-1

Q. Coach, in general, how do you feel you did against their 1-3-1 in terms of zone entries and kind of getting through that neutral zone?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I thought we did pretty well actually. From our estimation, we had a lot of clean entries. When we didn't, we put pucks to areas. I don't think that was the issue tonight. I thought we got through the way we wanted to. We had a lot of offensive zone time. I don't think we got enough of pucks to the net. We're looking for that next play instead of putting pucks at the net.

Give Ottawa credit. I thought they defended hard in their end zone, but we felt as though we had significant offensive zone time. Obviously our power play had an opportunity to be the difference in the first period, and we didn't execute.

Q. What specifically on your power play didn't you like, and how costly was that in terms of not generating momentum?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, we had a lot of power play time in the first period. We have an opportunity there to grab a lead. I just think we didn't execute. We didn't -- you know, the movement wasn't there. The passes weren't crisp. Those guys, for most of the playoffs here, have been really good and locked in, and they've done a commendable job for us for most of the playoffs. And for whatever reason tonight, we just didn't seem to execute in that first period.

Q. Mike, a couple of your center men talked about Ottawa successfully using their skates or their legs on face-offs. What's the counter to that?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, there's different strategies. That's like the new technique in the league now when the centermen come in with their skates first. There's a lot of guys that do it in the league now. It seems to be the new strategy. They've got a lot of them that utilize that strategy.

Q. So from the ice time, you liked what Cullen, Rowney and Wilson were doing out there. What were they doing that the other lines weren't doing consistently tonight?
MIKE SULLIVAN: They had great energy. They were competing. They were competing on pucks. They were hard on the fore-check. They were physical when they had opportunities. They were competing. They played really hard. I thought it was one of our better lines tonight.

Q. Mike, this goes to your initial statements about some of the things you may have liked about the game. You generate a lot of chances, a lot of cross bars, a lot of hits in the post. All in all, do you think your team assimilated what you were teaching them coming out of the Washington series for a different style against Ottawa? Do you feel you need to change anything, or do you feel the guys tried to implement what you taught them going into Game 1?
MIKE SULLIVAN: We'll watch the film and see what we can do different, and we'll go from there.

My initial reaction after the game was we wanted to make sure that we were -- we managed the puck the right way between the blue lines. I thought we accomplished that. I don't think the neutral zone was an issue.

We had -- as I said, we felt we had significant offensive zone time. I think we've got to get more pucks to the net, and that has to be -- that has to be a mindset moving forward that we're not necessarily looking for the next play all the time, and Ottawa defends the scoring area very well.

Sometimes the best way to break down coverage is a shot on goal and a rebound goal somewhere, and decisions have to be made. So I think we've got to look for opportunities to put more pucks at the net moving forward, and I think we've got to make sure that we don't beat ourselves. I thought the goals that we gave up, both of them tonight, were very avoidable, and we have to force them to work harder for those types of opportunities.

Q. Mike, on the goal you guys scored, how often -- I guess you talk to defensemen about chipping and chasing like that. Is that something that kind of came out of the blue for Ron?
MIKE SULLIVAN: No. I think Rowney just felt he had an opportunity to get to the puck first and get on top of the puck so that we could create a puck battle. So that was a hockey decision that he made.

Q. Mike, you talk about resilience being somewhat harmonious to success in the postseason. Do you feel like that's exactly how Ottawa approached this game, with that resilient factor?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I don't know how they approached the game. That's not really my concern. My concern is our team. So that's where our focus is, and as I said, we've got to make sure that we reset our mindset. We've been in these situations before. Our expectation was this was going to be a hard fought series, and that's exactly what it started. It's nothing that we didn't expect. We've got to embrace it. We've got to find ways to have success.

Q. Mike, you talked about getting more to the net. Do you think that, as you're watching the game, was there more space for your guys to step up and take that shot that would create the rebound, when they were making the pass when the space is there to step up?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Yeah, I thought we had a number of opportunities to put the puck on the net and then go to the net. I thought we had opportunities to challenge the net front with people away from the puck. And I think we have to do a better job there.

As I said, I felt as though we -- our coaching staff felt as though we had some significant zone time, but I don't think the amount of shots that we put on the net -- we've got to make it harder, I think, on our opponent to defend us by getting more pucks to the scoring area. It's the hardest area in the rink to defend.

And I just thought we had opportunities to get it there, and we were looking for that next play. Sometimes that next play never materializes.

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