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June 1, 2017

Mike Sullivan

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Practice Day

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Coach Sullivan.

Q. Mike, you are used to in the playoffs basically playing every other day this time of year. What does the extra day off do in a series like this beyond just the rest factor?
MIKE SULLIVAN: I'm not sure it's much different than some of the other series that we've been involved with, other than the rest component. I think my experience of going through these playoff runs in the past has been that each game is its own entity. It seems to take on its own story.

From our standpoint, it gives our team an opportunity to get a little bit of a rest so that we can reset our mindset here for Game 3.

Q. Mike, curious what you thought last night of the power play, what sort of things you might need to do differently in Game 3.
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I thought the power play was pretty good as far as the entries were concerned. I know we're normally a little bit better on our faceoff percentage. When we win that first faceoff, it certainly helps us with that immediate zone, which gives our guys an opportunity to act on their instincts.

As far as our end zone time, we had some opportunities. I thought we did a pretty good job as far as using the perimeter of the rink to get into the look we wanted to get into. Now it's just a matter of execution. We need to get more pucks to the net when we have opportunities to shoot the puck. When there are plays there to be made, we got to make the plays.

I know our power play will be better. It wasn't at its best last night. These guys have been so good for us throughout this whole regular season and the playoffs. The power play has won a lot of games for us here. They're going to be important for us moving forward.

Q. Mike, Geno is leading the league in points in the playoffs, but seems like he's done it somewhat quietly just because Jake is coming on in the first two games. Seems like he's been overshadowed in these playoffs. How much is he appreciated within the locker room?
MIKE SULLIVAN: He's very much appreciated. I think our players have so much respect for how good a player he is, but also how good a teammate he is.

Geno is a guy, he doesn't say a lot. He's a quiet guy. But he cares so much about the Pittsburgh Penguins and helping them win.

I think his play speaks for itself. He's one of those guys that we have on our team that has the ability to make a difference in one or two shifts. You saw that last night. Although I thought he competed hard most of the night, the goal he scored is a goal-scorer's goal. I think that's just an indication of the skill level that he has and the elite player that he is.

I know our coaching staff, his teammates, our management team, have so much respect for what Geno brings to the table as far as helping this Penguins team be as competitive as it is.

Q. You have spoken a lot about Sid's leadership. Do they compare at all? Any difference between Sid and Geno?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I think they're just different personalities. I think Geno is more of a quiet leader. He leads through his play. When he has the ability to make a difference by making a big play at a key time, he tends to do that. He's another one of those players we have on our roster that seems to make big plays at key times when the stakes are high on a big stage. He's done that throughout the course of this playoffs for us. He did it again last night.

Q. Mike, a year ago you won Game 2 against San Jose, then you had two days off, went to San Jose for Game 3, played a good game but lost. You're in the same situation, up 2-0. How do you use the experience of being up 2-0, then having two days off, going on the road for their first Stanley Cup Final game in their building, how does that experience play now?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I think our players have a certain level of perspective because of the experience that they've been through. So they understand, you know, we accomplished what we wanted to by starting at home, but they understand that Game 3 is a new game, it's a new challenge. We have to just focus on the task at hand.

We're not going to dwell on the games we just played. We're going to try to learn from those experiences and then we're going to move by it and get ready for Game 3.

That's what the biggest takeaway is of these players going through these types of experiences in the past, is they know what to expect, and they know not to overreact or under-react to any sort of situations that present themselves through the course of this series.

We know we have a big challenge ahead of us in Game 3. It's an exciting place to play. I think we have to embrace the energy that's going to be in the city and in the building. We've just got to focus on those things that we can control, and that's going to be our competitive level, our attitude, our execution, all of those things within our control. That's where our focus is going to be.

I think the experience that these guys have gone through, they can certainly draw on as far as, you know, understanding the emotional ups and downs through the course of a series.

Q. After Game 1, you said you were happy with the win, but not really content with the way you got it. A lot of your players said the same thing. How do you feel a few hours after Game 2?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I thought there were momentum swings on both sides. I thought we controlled play for a period in the first period. I thought they controlled play for a period of the first period.

The second period I thought wasn't our best. We were losing puck battles. We talked about that in between periods.

Then the third period I thought was our best period of the series.

There was a lot to like about the game that we played last night, and there's areas where we know we can be better and we can improve. That was the message after the game. We'll break the film down today. We'll have a film session tomorrow with our team to see what we can learn from it, some of the takeaways. Then we'll move by it and get ready for Game 3.

Q. I'll take you back a little bit. You and Peter both got your starts in the Bruins organization. What was formative about your time in that organization? What do you remember about getting your shot there?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, first and foremost, I was grateful for the opportunity that the Bruins organization gave me to start my coaching career. I started right off of playing as a coach with the Providence Bruins and had a terrific experience. The following year I was the head coach of the Boston Bruins. From that standpoint, I was grateful to the Bruins organization for showing the faith and trust in me that I could get the job done.

Any time a coach has his first coaching experience, it's an important experience for coaches. They're going to do certain things well, and they're going to do certain things where they might look back and reflect and say, I need to be better in those areas.

It was a learning experience for me at the same time. It also happened to be my hometown where I grew up watching the Bruins and being a Bruins fan my whole life.

There was a lot of reasons why that particular experience for me, you know, was an important one. It's still close to my heart, even though it was a difficult experience down the stretch there in the last part of my tenure. But that's the life of a coach in the NHL.

Certainly it was an experience that I look to right now and I know has helped me become a better coach.

Q. I've heard you talk about resetting a mindset all season. Is that something you've grown to appreciate more the more you coach? Is that something that is unique to these players, why you guys have found so much post-season success?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I just think it's so critically important to have the right mindset going into each and every game that we play. I've always been a big believer in our coaching staff, a big believer of staying in the moment, controlling what we can.

We try to learn from each experience, but we're certainly not going to dwell on it. Those experiences are over and done with. It's futile to look beyond the one experience right in front of you.

I think that it's important, if we're going to get to where we want to go, we're going to accomplish our ultimate common goal, the mindset going into each and every game is so critically important to setting our team up for success and giving ourselves the best chance to be successful. I think it's my responsibility as their head coach to make sure I do everything in my power to steer that and direct that.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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