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June 5, 2017

Mike Sullivan

Nashville, Tennessee - Postgame

Nashville - 4, Pittsburgh - 1

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Sullivan.

Q. Mike, in these two games down here, you get goals from Guentzel and tonight from Sid. Any concern about the lack of scoring depth these past two games? How does the absence of Bonino factor into that?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, obviously it's hard to win when you score one goal. Having said that, I thought tonight, of all the games we played, we generated the most chances and the highest quality. It didn't go in the net for us. We had a number of grade A opportunities, a couple of breakaways, flurries around the net. There were a lot of things from a process standpoint that we really liked.

I think we just got to stay with it, in that vein, and just continue to try to focus on the process. We believe we got guys that can score goals and can finish.

I thought the power play looked much better tonight, especially early in the game, at the end of the first period, beginning of the second. They had some really good looks. So from a process standpoint, there was a lot to like.

Obviously the result, we're disappointed. Do we need to get more scoring throughout? Sure. But we just got to play the game the right way. That's the way I look at it. If we do that, we'll get opportunities to score, and we believe in our guys.

Q. Mike, is Matt your goalie for Game 5? What do you make of the contact he's receiving pretty routinely either on shots or after the whistle by the Predators in the crease?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, it is what it is. I mean, it's playoff hockey. I'm not going to focus on what the referees call or they don't call. We got to be prepared for anything out there.

Lineup decisions or whatever, we just finished the game about a minute and a half ago.

Q. Phil tonight had seven shot attempts, two on net. What did you think of his game, the idea of how do you maybe get him going, get him a little bit more involved in the offense?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, we bounced him around a lot tonight. We played him with different people. He played with Geno sometimes. We played him with Cully and other people to try to spark him. I thought he had some good opportunities. I think he was looking to shoot the puck more, which I think is important. When he has that shot-first mentality, he can be really dangerous.

As I said before, I think from a process standpoint, obviously the attempts that he's making, I thought he had the puck more tonight than he's had in a lot of the previous games, and so as long as he stays with it, we believe he'll score goals.

Q. Is there anything you feel like you guys got away from the past two games or is it sort of a continuation you want to look forward like that?
MIKE SULLIVAN: The only thing I would say is I thought a couple of the goals tonight, a couple of goals in the prior game, you know, there were things that we could have done that were preventable, let's put it that way. They were very preventable.

The breakaway goal for me tonight is an example. We have to have a bit of awareness away from the puck. If we do that, it's a nothing play.

Sometimes the way we look at it as coaches when we break the game down, you know, there are some goals that are scored because we're playing against good teams and good players make good plays. Sometimes that happens. But then there are other goals that we think are preventable if we play the game a certain way.

I thought in both games there were a couple that I think we could have done a better job defending with a little bit awareness away from the puck, that could have been preventable.

These games, they're a lot closer. We've been on both sides of it here. Both teams have won two games. These games are a lot closer than sometimes the score indicates. I think that was the case in our building, and I think it was the case in this building.

I think we've got to stay with it here. We believe in this group that we have. They're a resilient bunch. They're a resourceful bunch. They understand how to win. We just got to go back home and we've got to respond the right way.

Q. Mike, it's obviously been a while since Flower has played. Rust is always a factor when you're talking about any kind of decision you might make. Is it a factor for you? Would you have confidence, if called upon, he would be ready?
MIKE SULLIVAN: We have confidence in all of our guys. We have confidence in all of our guys. That's why they're on this team. We believe in every one of them.

Q. Has the blueline struck what you consider an appropriate balance between being aggressive offensively and still being committed to the defense and protecting the scoring area in the series?
MIKE SULLIVAN: Have they struck a balance? You know, our blueline crew, they're a simple bunch. They're trying to make plays to get out of our end zone. They're trying to help us along that offensive blueline. I don't think we have anybody back there that wows you offensively.

You know, they're a simple bunch and they're effective. I think they help us at both ends of the rink. I think they're trying to play the game the right way. What I really like about them is their compete level. As I've said all along here, they're not perfect by any stretch. But these guys are competing.

I believe that they're doing their very best to help us at both ends of the rink.


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