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May 19, 2017

Mike Sullivan

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Postgame

Pittsburgh-3, Ottawa-2

Q. Mike, I'm wondering what you thought about your team's ability to, at times, it looked like overwhelm them with pressure, skating, puck support, that kind of thing, and why it was possible tonight.
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I thought our players did a terrific job. I thought they had a readiness about them tonight that we have to find more consistency with. As I've said all along here, this group has a knack for responding the right way to any of the adversities or the challenges that this team has been faced with. I think it always starts with our leadership. It starts with our captain. I think he leads by example, and I thought he had one of his best games tonight, Sid. But it doesn't just stop with Sid. It goes down the bench.

We've got a lot of real quality veteran leadership on our team, and I think these guys lead the charge when it comes to the type of response that this team continues to show throughout the course of the playoffs.

We liked a lot of the game tonight. We were playing on our toes. We were trying to play the game the way this team likes to play and gives us the best chance to win against a very good opponent. So we're happy or pleased that we got the win, and now we got to go back home and set our mind on Game 5.

Q. Mike, when you said this morning you were looking for more scoring throughout the lineup, did you know it was going to be Olli and Dumo to get the goals tonight? What did it mean to have the defensemen chip in offensively?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I'm not sure if you asked me before the game. Those are the guys that came to mind. But we're thrilled for those guys and for our team. I thought we were just trying to play the game the right way and taking what was given out there.

I think it's hard to generate offense in today's game in the absence of your defensemen getting involved, whether it be off the rush or in the offensive zone itself. I thought our defensemen did as good a job as we've seen in this playoffs tonight along that offensive blue line, just becoming an option, making good decisions with the puck, helping us to sustain the offensive attack, and that's going to be an important component of our game moving forward. But I thought tonight they did a really good job.

Q. What can you say about the effort of Matt Murray and the way he played coming off the long layoff and just playing as well as he did?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I thought Matt was solid. He made some timely saves for us when we needed it, and I thought he was solid. He has a calm demeanor about him. I thought he was tracking the puck extremely well. And certainly, he made a couple of key saves for us at key times. We're fortunate that we have the guys that we have back there, whether it be Matt or Marc.

Q. Mike, you kind of answered this, but do your D-men carry themselves any differently in the locker room or on the bench when they get results in the offensive end?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I don't think so. Our defense corps is a quiet group. They just go about their business. We have plenty of vocal guys at the forward position, so there's only so much air time to go around, whether it be on the bench or in the locker room. But these guys just quietly go about their business.

They're a competitive group, and we go to five defensemen as early as we did in the game once again, and the five guys just -- you know, they find ways to continue to be competitive and help us win.

Q. Mike, what were you watching in Matt Murray's game for you to feel comfortable that he was okay kind of jumping in at this point in the stage?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, we watch him daily. We watch these guys daily. We track them closely. And we believe that we have both guys back there that are really high quality goaltenders. So these decisions aren't easy, which particular guy that we choose to put in the net. Certainly, we trust these guys, and that's why we can make these types of decisions.

But as I said, I thought he was solid. I thought he was solid in the game when he came in the game prior and made some timely saves. He's had some real high quality practice time, and he's fresh.

Q. I was wondering if you could give us an update on your fallen defensemen. Also, were you at all surprised there was no discipline against Bobby Ryan on that play?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Chad is out with a concussion, so he'll be evaluated when we get back to Pittsburgh.

It's not my job to evaluate how the call was made or not made. You know, the referees are going to see it the way they see it, and they do the best job they can. We're just going to play the game.

Q. Mike, how much was changing the goalies about wanting to have better play in goal but also maybe to send a message that would resonate through the room that you needed to have better play in front of the goalie, to kind of make a change for the sake of getting the team back on track?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I don't think it was -- we're not making change for the sake of change, if that's what you're asking. We're trying to make lineup decisions. We're trying to make lineup decisions on a nightly basis or a game-by-game basis that we think give us the best chance to win.

I think at this time of year, we're not looking beyond the one game right in front of us, and the first question I always ask our coaching staff when we start to have these discussions on lineup decisions, regardless of the position, is which guys do we think on this particular game is going to give us the best chance to win? And that's the criteria. And then we drill down from there, and we try to make the best decisions.

These aren't easy decisions at any of the positions we have because we believe we have some high quality people, but these guys are great pros, and they just want to help this team win. So we're appreciative of that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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