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May 17, 2017

Guy Boucher

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Pregame

GUY BOUCHER: It's a great day today. Big news. Jonathan Petry's treatments are working well. Like to say hi to Jonathan and what a great fight you're having. We're thinking about you.

Q. Coach, any changes to your lineup here tonight? What can you tell us about some of the injuries?
GUY BOUCHER: The only thing is Stalberg is a game-time decision. So we're that close, yeah.

Q. Is it an easy decision on who comes out?
GUY BOUCHER: No. It never is. Never is. We'll take the next hours to figure that out. Maybe we won't have to. We'll see. But he is getting really close.

Q. You've always maintained that home ice is the same as road ice, playing on the road. How much of an advantage is having that last change on home ice against a team like Pittsburgh.
GUY BOUCHER: You can see it's an advantage. Certainly isn't a disadvantage. Like I said, in terms of matchups, I think all our players have to be able to play against all their players. They've got too many players, and all their lines are good. It's the same as the series against the Rangers. I don't think it's a big matchup series. It's a lot more of a depth series.

Both teams are doing well with their depth, and all have an impact. We're asking all our players to be able to play against anybody.

Q. Coach, Pierre Dorion was named one of the finalists for annual GM of the year. What impact has Peter Dorion had on your team this year?
GUY BOUCHER: He's been tremendous right from the get-go. Great decisions in the summer. It's easy to say we'd love to do this, we'd love to add that, but to actually be able to do it, I've seen how hard it is in the NHL. Out of a hundred things you'd like to do, you're lucky to get one or two. It's tough to make trades. It's tough to go get players and sign. So Pierre's been able to do quite a bit, starting last summer and during the season.

When you're a coach, you always have a shopping list. It's very difficult for the GM to be able to fulfill that, and basically everything I asked, I got. It doesn't happen very often. So I was really lucky. And I think Pierre -- I think his eye for talent has always been renowned. That's mainly why he's where he is right now.

So when he's looking at players from other teams and he's able to come back with a clear picture of what players are, it's a lot easier for me after to, with him, decide in a tandem and go with who we can get, and we've been able to do that this year.

For me, it's been a terrific year because we're really on the same page. We've had a terrific relationship. He probably has the number one -- I find, the number one criteria for a good GM. He lets me coach, and we trust each other. So I trust him with player personnel, and he trusts me with the coaching. It's easy to say. It's very hard to do, and I thought he was phenomenal.

Q. Guy, could you talk a little bit about what happened in the last two periods of the last game in Pittsburgh. First period was pretty back and forth. But second and third, Pittsburgh ran a whole lot, constant pressure. What do you guys have to do tonight to counter that?
GUY BOUCHER: I would disagree with your assessment there. It was the third period. It wasn't the second period. It was the third period. We had two good first periods, and the third period is exactly what I said after the game. Sometimes I'm wrong when I watch video, but it was what we saw. We gave them the puck on our breakouts. A lot of pucks thrown when we could have managed it very well, like we did in the first period. In the third period, we just threw pucks away. When you throw pucks away against a good team like that, they're going to take over in your zone, and you're running around after that.

It's hard enough to defend against those guys, and when you get that puck back to actually give it back to them twice on the same shift in your zone, you're asking for trouble. That's exactly what happened in the third period.

Plus we didn't find some zone -- we had enough zone entries, but with our zone entries, we stayed on the perimeter. That's never been a good way to play against anybody. So we didn't generate enough inside those face-off dots. We didn't pay the price enough in there, and we know that. So we can do better there for sure.

Q. Guy, you talked a lot about bringing in experienced players in the playoffs and the value they've had. As a coach who's been to the final before, you're here again, like things change -- having had that experience, situations managing, have you been able to learn from that yourself this time around?
GUY BOUCHER: Yeah, Marc's been there too. All my assistants have been there actually. Cooksey's been to The Finals also. Marty was with me in Tampa and conference Finals. So our staff has quite a bit of experience, and that's what I wanted to start the year. Throughout the year, we saw that a lot of stuff we knew how to manage better than the first time around, we were able to prevent a lot of the stuff. We know what's coming.

So coming into this round, it's not the same players, it's not the same circumstances, but there's a lot of the things that are similar in terms of managing rest and knowing that it's a round that really is tougher than the previous ones. Not because of the opposing side, just because of the fact that the season is long, and the first series there's usually a lot of adrenaline and guys are fresher. Then the second series, you can see, middle of the series you start to see guys wear down. The third series is all about mental and physical and emotional toughness. It's a difficult round.

So, yeah, it's a lot about managing rest and a lot about managing emotions and other things that we won't get into. But, yeah, once you've done it, definitely there's things you see differently and that you manage differently.

Q. Guy, Erik gets a lot of attention regardless of the opponent you're facing, but what, if anything, do you see that Pittsburgh is trying to do to slow him down a little bit?
GUY BOUCHER: The same as the other teams, nothing different. I think you fore-check him when you can, and when he's got the puck, you try to pick the puck off of him. I don't think they're -- I don't think there's anyone following him around the ice. Actually, it would be great because they'd be missing one guy back there. I don't think they're doing anything different than the other teams in terms of playing against Erik.

Erik has managed the first two rounds just like he's managed it in this round. It's a great team we're playing. So I think they're going hard. They're difficult to get through, and they've got a lot of speed and a lot of skill. So I think it's more of two teams that are going at each other. It's certainly not one individual against another individual. We never approach it that way, and we don't see it this way. I think Erik will be the first guy to tell you that.

Q. Coach, can you talk about Craig's performance in the first two games with all that's going on in his personal life?
GUY BOUCHER: I think he's had to live it all year. I think right now there's good times. Things went well in terms of treatments and all that, so there's a lot of positives. He's been able to see his family throughout these playoffs now. So I'm sure that, for the state of his mind and everything he has to manage, it's as good as he can get it now. Obviously, it's been very difficult, but I think having managed his wife, his kids, the whole family all year long, I think he's learned to come to the rink and shut everything out and be focused. And when it's over, then he manages what he needs to manage. So he's just been an absolute pro in every sense of the word. He's playing very well.

Q. Coach, you talked about how much of a grind this third round is. Does that make home ice advantage, the crowd, the energy in the building, that much more important?
GUY BOUCHER: Well, I think either home or being on the road doesn't change your Xs and Os and your game plan. But in terms of energy, of course, when you do something wow and your crowd is into it, it enhances what you're doing and sometimes makes it look better than it is.

We've seen it on the road, and sometimes we talk about it. Sometimes the opposing crowd is really loud in moments where it really isn't -- it's a far shot and nothing's happening. It seems worse, momentum seems worse against you because of that, but really if you'd be home, it's your crowd, and the same momentum that the other team is slowly gaining doesn't seem as big.

But then you get the opposite. It's the same as home. When you do something really well, it's like anybody in life. You do something well, you get a pat on the back, you want to do more, you want to do better. I think that's what you get at home.

Our crowd's been electric. It's been outstanding, and I think we've had some games where they've had quite a show. I think our fans have given it back to us in terms of energy, and I think our players have really demonstrated so many great things that the fans are recognizing that. It's not just resiliency, but lots of goals.

Before (indiscernible), we were averaging three goals a game offensively, and we had some five-goal games and four-goal games here, and the players have played really hard in front of them. So I think it's great for both, the fans and the players.

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