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May 18, 2017

Peter Laviolette

Anaheim, California - Pregame

Q. You've obviously been around the Playoffs for a long time as a coach. I wonder if you could sort of draw on that experience to talk about how crazy it's been here in Nashville and how they're celebrating this team.
COACH LAVIOLETTE: We've got an excitable group in the city and the state, I think, on a regular day and on a regular basis. And I think things always amp up and go to a new height when the Playoffs begin and then the further that you can get in the Playoffs, I think the focus and the intensity becomes even more, internally from a team standpoint and certainly externally from a fan base and a city standpoint as well. And right now it's just a tremendous environment inside the rink, outside the rink.

Our fans have meant so much to us for so many years. But this is a first opportunity for them to get this deep in the Playoffs and their support is overwhelming.

Q. Yesterday you guys skated. They did not. Today you skated. They have an optional skate. I'm wondering how much does this morning skate help this time of year? And does travel get in the way of that, Monday, for example.
COACH LAVIOLETTE: We didn't skate yesterday. Those are some extra guys. We didn't skate yesterday. We had a day off yesterday. We had an optional this morning. Guys have a choice at that point, whatever makes them great. We do our best to manage. But yesterday our guys were off the ice. All we did was come in for a meeting.

Q. Do you think it helps coming here just as a team or does it change?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: I think it changes based on what's available, start times. The 4:00 games make it a little bit more difficult. The schedule. The travel. Overtime games. It changes.

We go into a series, I think, with an itinerary, but then on a daily basis it changes based on what's happened during that day. And you try to keep moving and keep adjusting to what's going on in real time. And the most important thing, I think, at this point of the year is that the players feel good on the ice, whatever that means, whether it means a practice or pregame skate or a day off or rest. And we try to make the best decisions with regard to that.

Q. I know not only the regular season but in the Playoffs, the D have been so good for you guys in terms of putting up points. Wonder if you could talk about maybe just broadly philosophy for you in terms of defense joining in the rush or playing offense. Just maybe some general guidelines or philosophies that you like to go by? Without going too deep.
COACH LAVIOLETTE: We're fortunate, we've got good skating, skilled defensemen. And we try to work at our plan through the course of the year on how we want to play and the identity we're trying to create. And I think our guys have a pretty good handle on it right now.

Q. Couple of the Anaheim players were talking about how impressed they were that the Predators maintain their speed and aggressiveness for 60 minutes. Other teams do it for part of the game. They said you guys are in their face for 60 minutes. I want to know, do you coach differently because of all the speed that's coming to the game in the last 10 years in terms of the way you want to put together an attack? How much has it changed?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: I do think the game's changed a little bit. I don't think my mind, my philosophy or my mindset has changed going back to 2006, I don't think that there's much change and much difference in what we're trying to do out there.

I don't necessarily agree with that assessment by them. I think that at times we have to play good defense. And I think we've done a pretty good job of that, of trying to stay balanced between an attack offensively and when we need to stay and play defense. And I think our guys have done a pretty good job.

But we always talk about it. And we show video clips of us just playing good defense, so it doesn't necessarily have to do with speed or doesn't have to do with attack or offense. They've got a really good team. They're capable of generating a lot. And there's times when we just have to stay in the defensive zone and defend.

But I do think that our guys have done that well also. And I think just trying to find that balance and that mix, the right mix of it.

Q. Just to follow up on that, the sort of prototypical modern defensemen, you have a bunch of them -- Josi, Subban and if you want to look at Ellis as well. They can move the puck. They can skate the puck. They have that offensive element in their game. When did the game sort of flip during your career, where that became a necessity for a guy to make it in the league, as opposed to the era where you maybe had one guy who could do that?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: Yeah, there has been a lot -- there's been more attention, I think, in the last, probably three or four years about defensemen that are mobile. There's been, I guess, a couple of movements. That would be one of them. There's been talk of how do you acquire a young, puck-moving skating defensemen, a mobile defenseman, somebody who can add to the offense and bring that dynamic.

And then the other thing that's probably changed a lot in the last two to three years is just the youth of the players and these players now coming in and that -- 18, 19, 20 years old. And while that was -- 10 years ago, 15 years ago -- that really wasn't the case. Somebody really had to earn their stripes, and they had to go through -- they had to go through the ropes to get to a point where maybe they were a factor on a top six forward and a power play. And now there's an expectation of these young players coming in.

So I do think there's been a little bit more emphasis on mobile defensemen, and there's been more of an emphasis on the young players as well.

Q. How much have you kind of learned in the last two years with Anaheim and their ability to come back in games and in series and the fact that they never go away until it's over, and how much is that in your mind on this series?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: It's always on our mind. I think the one thing that's maybe kept us on point is the respect of the opponents that we've had to go through to get to this point.

Chicago, I think, draws everybody's attention. Our room and across the league they're are a terrific team. When we had talked about St. Louis, I mean, the fact was the fact. They were the No. 1 team since February. And they had the most points in the league.

And more to the point, we find ourselves in Anaheim Ducks I'm series now where, prior to last game, I think they had four losses in their last 28 or 29 games, regulation losses.

They were another team. So maybe not from February 1st but certainly the last month or so, plus the first round and the second round of the Playoffs. This was a team that was on fire. They went into the last 15 games of the regular season without a regulation loss.

So, that's a team that's playing well. And I think we understand that and know that they have veteran players that have experience and can make a difference at any point in the game. And I think that that helps hold your attention on point through the course of the 60 minutes.

Q. You talked about your team getting opportunities on the power play. How can a goal like the other night maybe really spark them moving forward? And how important will it be continuing that success on the power play be considering they've gone to the box a few times?
COACH LAVIOLETTE: Again, kind of going back to the last question, I think you've got to give a little bit of credit to Anaheim and the way that they've killed penalties for the last couple of years. They've been excellent as a group.

I do think that we're getting some looks and we're getting some opportunities. Our shots are there. They haven't dropped maybe as frequently as we have liked, would have liked, but I do see us in the offensive zone and getting the looks, some of the looks we want to get.

With regard to the last goal, I think that can help a team with confidence and you're out there and you're getting the opportunities. Any goal scorer when they're getting the looks, they want to be that difference maker and score that goal, and I think in turn that helps give them a little bit of confidence and the same thing can be said about a power play. So you look to build off that from what happened last game where we scored late in the game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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