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May 19, 2017

Guy Boucher

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Pregame

Q. Starting goaltender tonight, Coach? (Laughter)
GUY BOUCHER: You got me.

Q. Can you give us an update on Alex Burrows?
GUY BOUCHER: It's not as bad as we thought. We're going to go back and see with the therapist. He was doing treatment there. We'll see if he's okay for tonight. I mean, if he's not, we're okay. We've got enough guys ready to go. But we're not talking about a long-term thing.

Q. More practice time for Mark Borowiecki as well. Is he getting close?
GUY BOUCHER: Much closer. A little setback a few days ago, maybe a week ago, I think a week and a half ago. Now it's as good as it's been for a long time. Definitely going the right direction. It won't be for today. We're getting closer and closer.

Obviously, he's a hammer. Once he gets back in the lineup, we'll have his strengths on the ice. But for now, we have the guys that we've got, and they're doing really good.

Q. Coach, can you comment on what luxuries are offered to a coach through the rest of a hockey game when you're up as much as you were after one period of play? Some of the things that you can benefit from?
GUY BOUCHER: To be honest with you, I don't see it as a luxury at all. I mean, you're happy to be up, but as the game goes on, you're less yourself. You get to the point where you kind of watch out for injuries and kind of play the game just to end it. It's good to have a lead. Of course, you'll choose that. But to say it's a luxury, that's not the way it feels when you're trying to manage it at all.

First of all, they can come back at any time. They've got the power to do so. You've got a five-on-three against you, and all of a sudden they score two goals, and it's a two-goal game. So there's no leads right now in the NHL that are safe. We've seen it in these playoffs. We've got to stay alert. I doubt we're going to see that again in this series. I think it happens once a series in every series. It happened in a previous series where we scored a lot of goals. But I think right now we're expecting a real tight game.

We're expecting their best. They always bounce back. If you look at these playoffs, they've -- when they got beat against Washington, the game after that they played probably their best game of the series. That's a team that's used to bouncing back. It's a team that's got experience, and we're expecting their very best today.

Q. Coach, what's not working for your power play right now? Are you surprised that you've been able to have such consistent success without getting production from it?
GUY BOUCHER: Yeah. No, for me playoffs have never been about the power play for me. I have a perfect example from a few years ago when we were in the playoffs. We lost to Boston. We had an outstanding power play, and it was making us win games. We get into the seventh game, and we didn't get one single power play, and Boston was at about 3.5 percent power play the entire playoffs, and they won the Stanley Cup.

I know that once the playoffs start, power plays are very difficult. You look at all the teams, it's all the same everywhere. The reason is simple. The guys are so dedicated to defending. They're in the lanes and blocking shots with a much higher percentage. It's like there's five goalies out there, and it's very tough to manufacture goals. Goalies are outstanding in the playoffs. They're at their best. They're most alert.

We've had some really good blocks where you've almost got your hands up and going, how did that go in? That's because the goalies are defending well. That's how it is. The nature of the power play is to create something. In the season, the really good ones are 21 percent, 22 percent. That means you fail 80 percent of the time in the season. In the playoffs, it's even worse. So I was expecting exactly that. It's real tough to score on power plays in the playoffs. It's like that for everybody.

The other day I was watching the game for Anaheim. They were 0 for 18. Wondering how we're going to do. One guy comes in and shoots from outside the dots, and it goes in, and that was their power-play goal. It's just because the playoffs are about paying the price. They're about desperation. And there's a lot of that on penalty kills. It's a lot easier to destroy something than it is to build something.

Q. How important are the first ten minutes going to be for you guys? The way you came out the other night and scored 40 seconds in, are they going to be more on guard this time than they were the other night?
GUY BOUCHER: You know what, I know we had a good start, but first game of the series, we did the exact same thing. It just didn't go in. This time it went in.

You always want to have a good start, but for me a good start is you don't give the opponent freebies and you manage the puck well. Our start, obviously, in front of our fans, lots of energy, it gives you more energy, but the reality was we didn't like in the second game our third period. The only thing we focused on was managing the puck better on our breakouts and our zone entries and going to the net more. That's it. We didn't change anything else.

We just wanted to make sure that, when we have the puck, we didn't give it away like we did the previous game and lose momentum because of that. And I think it's the same focus today. We want to make sure that on their fore-check or on puck races, that we come up on top so we don't give the opponent momentum.

And then it gives you the puck, and with the puck it's your job to make sure you don't play perimeter hockey. And that's how we've been successful. When we don't do that, we don't get the look that we normally get, and we don't have the identity that we need to have to win games.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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