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May 15, 2017

Mike Sullivan

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Pregame

Q. Does it kind of just come down to execution or are there other things you want your guys to improve on?
MIKE SULLIVAN: It's a little bit of both. Certainly, execution is part of it. We did look at film, and we have some ideas on some of the adjustments that we think we need to make. But, certainly, we've got a capable group here. They generated a fair amount of scoring chances. We have post.

So, you know, sometimes just because the power play doesn't score doesn't mean it necessarily didn't -- wasn't effective. So we try to have a fair assessment with our group and letting them know if that's the case. So there were some -- some of the power play was very good, and there were a number of quality scoring chances.

We didn't convert, and that's ultimately what we like to do. But we think that this group is very capable. It's been a great power play for us all year. It's been a great power play for us throughout the course of this playoffs, and we know that it will continue to be moving forward.

Q. Coach, you've been in a lot of playoff series the last two years, seven of them. Do you feel like there's a rhythm to a playoff series, where Game 2 is maybe where you make adjustments?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I think, after Game 1s, both sides get a real indication of what the game plans are. So I think it gives coaching staffs an opportunity to not only assess not only their own team but also to try to assess their respective opponents and make the necessary adjustments they need to be able to make in order to help the group have success.

So, as the series goes on, there becomes more familiarity on both sides, and so that's kind of the evolution of a series, I guess.

Q. Is Patric Hornqvist available tonight?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Everybody will be a game-time decision tonight.

Q. A couple of the guys said that they feel, as far as shooting, they need to try wide angle or hard angle, whatever they call it. Do you have to grant a little leniency, as you're pushing guys to shoot more, if they take, I guess, bad shots?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I'm not sure there is one. I'm not sure there is a bad shot. If you have an opportunity to put a puck on the net and you go to the net, usually good things happen. It creates decision making for everybody on the rink.

So I think opportunity presents itself in those circumstances. I think we have a group of players that instinctively they want to make plays. So sometimes we look for that next play that may not ever materialize.

So I think we have to be diligent in making sure that we heighten the awareness with our players sometimes just to simplify the game a little bit and look to shoot pucks more.

And that was our message to our team yesterday. We're not -- I don't think it's anything that we're -- that's a story for our team. I just think we're a coaching staff that believes in giving our players the latitude to make plays because we think that's what separates some of our difference-makers from others, and that's part of the identity of this group.

But we would just like them to, you know, in certain situations, to simplify their game a little bit and not necessarily look for that next play all the time that doesn't materialize. Let's put some pucks on the net and see where we go from there.

So that was the discussion that was had. That's all. But it's -- I know that our players are very capable. We got some guys that can shoot the puck too. So we'd like to see them put the puck on the net a little bit more.

Q. Mike, when the systems change from one series to the next, the way it did from Washington to Ottawa, how much do you maybe lean on your assistant coaches? How invaluable can they be to you in terms of breaking down video, in terms of implementing strategy? In what ways have those -- your assistant coaches helped you in this series so far?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Oh, they're invaluable. I think we have a great staff. I have so much respect for our coaches. These guys are great hockey guys. They've got a lot of experience. They've been around the game a long time.

And what I really like about our staff is that everybody speaks their mind, and we have some great discussions. It's one of the parts of the job I really love is the internal debate and discussions around various topics, whether it be system stuff or personnel or line combinations. We have some great discussions. But I know our staff helps me become a better coach, and I value their opinions. These guys are hard-working guys, and they're extremely helpful to me.

Q. Mike, I don't know if there's anything to this or if it's overanalysis, but their penalty kill, did you feel like they were out to pressure a little bit, Bill and Geno, especially on the walls there? And are there more plays to be made down low on your power play?
MIKE SULLIVAN: There are plays to be made. There are plays to be made. We've just got to recognize where the plays are, and when they're not, maybe we need to be patient with the puck and just work the rink a little bit.

You know, I thought, as I said to our group yesterday and this morning, and we showed them some examples, when our power play is at its best, there's a lot of movement, and there's motion. There's movement of the puck, and there's movement of people. That's no secret. That's something that we've talked about for a long time. And I think that's what makes our power play as good as it is, when it's at its best, is the instinctive play that just comes off of that.

I thought we just got a little bit stagnant. We've gone through it in the past where that's happened, and we usually address it, and the players respond. So I thought we had some quality discussions over the last two days, and hopefully the guys will get an opportunity on it tonight. I know they'll be better.

Q. Mike, I know lineup is game time, but Carl Hagelin, is he healthy enough to at least factor into being a game-time discussion?

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