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May 31, 2018

Gerard Gallant

Washington, D.C.: Practice Day

THE MODERATOR: Good day and welcome to this NHL press conference. Today's conference is being recorded. At this time, I will turn the call over to David Keon. Please go ahead.

DAVID KEON: Thank you very much. I'm David Keon of the National Hockey League Communications department. I'd like to welcome you to our call with Vegas Golden Knights Coach Gerard Gallant. Thanks to Gerard for joining us today. We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Gerard, thanks very much for doing this. Your team has been very good at home and on the road in these playoffs. What is it about playing on the road in a road style of hockey that suits your players and your team well?
COACH GALLANT: I think we try and play the same game no matter what building we're playing in. It worked very well in the postseason. Try to play the same game, play a quick, fast game, an up-tempo game. Every game is important in the playoffs. I really don't think it matters if you're playing on the road or at home, just make sure you're focused for the game.

Q. Now that you've had a chance to watch the film a little bit, is there anything you'd like to see better out of your team? I know, obviously, it was just a 3-2 game you lost, but is there anything you'd like to see tighten up going into Game 3?
COACH GALLANT: Yeah, definitely. I thought we were okay at times in the game. We had lots of opportunities to score some goals and didn't get them. Basically, we have to be better in our own zone. We can't give up as many odd-man rushes as we gave away last night. So just tighten it up a little bit.

Q. Hi, Coach. You've been in this situation before, tied up in the series. Do you have to preach patience coming off a loss, or do they know that one loss isn't anything to panic about?
COACH GALLANT: No, there's no panic. Like you said, the series is 1-1. We're switching to the next two games here in Washington. We've got to play a little better, work harder, and compete. We know it's never going to be easy to win a Stanley Cup. So you've just got to focus on the next game. You don't worry about the last game you just finished. You get prepared for the next game on Saturday.

Q. Did you see what you wanted to see out of the line changes you made in the second and third line, flipping Tuck and Perron?
COACH GALLANT: No, it was okay. Things weren't going great last night. I do that quite a bit. I'll switch one guy on a different line and change it up a little bit. Hopefully, sometimes it works, and other times it doesn't. It was okay. It was just okay. We'll see what we're going to do for the lineup on Saturday.

Q. Did you think in the third period you were getting enough traffic in front of the goal? I was looking at the heat map, and it didn't look like a ton of traffic. Did you think you were getting enough in front of the goal, specifically in the last period?
COACH GALLANT: No, we didn't get enough, like you said. I think we've got to play more inside definitely. On the power-play goal, we get people in front of the goal, and they don't get a chance to see the shot. You've got to get more people in front of the net.

The goalies are good in the playoffs, especially this time of the season. Got to make sure you've got people in traffic around the net a lot and don't give them a chance to see the puck. Definitely got to -- we got to play a little bit more inside.

Q. And then with the five-on-three, you thought still the chances were there, but the goalie made all the saves?
COACH GALLANT: It's the chances are there. Really we didn't execute them. You look at it back, and everything we wanted to do was there. We just didn't execute the play right. We didn't do it quick enough. It was guys not making the right plays at the right time. But we didn't get enough chances for sure.

Q. Hey, Turk, how's it going? So I thought the fore-check was really good for you guys in the first game, and I thought the Capitals did a lot better job just getting around it in the second game. Do you agree, and what do you think they did better, and what do you have to do for it to be more effective going forward?
COACH GALLANT: Yeah, I agree 100 percent what you just said. We've got to be a little more grittier. I thought the Caps finished more checks than we did on their fore-check. I thought they played a grittier game than we did. We had a chance to win the game. We didn't play a real bad game, but we didn't play enough to win.

There's some things we've got to get better at. Overall, we've got to make sure we're playing gritty. Got to win the one-on-one battles, and that's how you win hockey games.

Q. Hey, Coach, going into this series, both of these teams are kind of known for their speed and for their skill, but it's been really physical for the first two games, a lot of hits from both sides. What kind of an impact do you think that's having on both teams, and how do you expect that to have an impact going forward as two teams playing on?
COACH GALLANT: I think it's playoff hockey, and it definitely ramps up a little bit about the physical play. That's going to be part of it. Every player knows that when you're getting in the playoffs, you're going to have battles with different teams. We came through a physical L.A. team and an aggressive San Jose team and another physical team in Winnipeg. So guys are used to getting bumped and banged. It's part of playoff hockey, and you fight through that stuff.

So I think every team is aware of what's going to happen, and we've just got to keep playing our game. Like I said, we like to play a style of game that's a quick, fast game, a quick transition game, and when we're doing that, we're playing well.

Q. When you get to like the fourth round of the playoffs, and if this series ends up going six, seven games, what kind of a toll does that take psychologically on either side, do you think?
COACH GALLANT: At this point, you know what, the guys are just excited to play the games. They know whoever is going to win this series, it's going to be a lot of fun, and the team that loses is going to be real tough on them.

But it's almost over. There's less than two weeks left to go in the season one way or the other, and the guys are going to lay it all out on the line, and they've got all summer to get ready for the next season. They're not worried about that. They're just worried about playing one game at a time and battling hard. I think it's going to be great for both teams that they're going to compete and battle.

Q. Last night Brooks Orpik, of course, he's the big star of the game. In Washington, a lot has been made of his core analytics, and oftentimes, defensive defensemen, they don't do well with those kind of numbers. I'm just curious, what's your view on how analytics judges defensive defensemen like Orpik?
COACH GALLANT: I know Orpik is an important player for them. I'm not really worried about analytics. He does his job and plays a big role for that hockey team. I'm sure Trotzy is the same way. He's an important cog for their hockey team.

I don't really pay much attention to it. I pay attention to what I see on the ice and what I see from a hockey player. I see he's an effective player for them and does a good job. That's what we see as coaches.

Q. Speaking of his goal last night, is there anything defensively your team could have done, or it was just kind of a bad bounce off of Tucky there?
COACH GALLANT: Yeah, no, they came back in the zone. They had an odd-man rush. I thought Eaks got to the guy pretty quick. It was an unfortunate bounce for us. It went off Tucky's arm and bounced -- it was going wide and hit Tucky's arm and then bounced on the ice and hits the inside of the post. It was an unfortunate break for us and a good break for them.

Q. Gerard, how do you assess the way your top line looked at even-strength last night? Is there anything you do when on the road to try to get them favorable matches where you don't have the last change?
COACH GALLANT: Like I said, we don't have the last change, so you can match up what you want. It's never been an issue with our team all season long. I don't care who they play against. We're going to play well and work hard and beat hard. Last night they didn't have the offensive outburst they usually have. You're not going to be at your best every night. I expect them to be really good for us like they have all season long. I'm not really worried about matchups, to be totally honest with you.

Q. Hi, Gerard. Thanks very much for taking the time to take the call. It's kind of become customary for a lot of teams to try to build themselves, to replicate some of the better teams, more successful teams of the last decade. A lot of teams are trying to replicate Chicago, Pittsburgh. So I'm wondering, what are your thoughts on is it even possible to try to replicate what you guys have done, build a team sort of how you have?
COACH GALLANT: I think when George McPhee and our organization -- I was -- for the expansion draft, they were picking the best players available and the best people available, that was the goal. It wasn't all about trying to build a team and certain pieces here, certain pieces there. They were trying to get good people and good hockey players and do the best thing for our organization to build for the long time.

At the end of the day, when we seen the talented players we had in our hockey team, we said, you know what, we've got a good group here. Let's see what we can do.

As a coaching staff, we looked at what we had, and said, let's try and play the style of game that plays a fast game, a quick game, and move the puck pretty quick.

So far, it's worked pretty good for our group, and I think the players enjoy playing them.

Q. Last thing. Would you agree the two teams that are playing in the final right now are the two hardest-working teams that are out there, that it's just impossible to outwork either you or the Caps?
COACH GALLANT: I think that's been the thing we've prided ourselves on all season long. There's no doubt. Barry's team works hard. They're very competitive. So I would agree with that statement for sure.

DAVID KEON 1: Thanks very much for your time, Gerard.

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