2017 Stanley Cup Final Post Penguins Game 2

Mike, just wanted to sort of rewind back to when Jake wasn’t scoring, what those conversations were like. You probably want to keep a lot of it in-house. How receptive was he to what you were doing?

MIKE SULLIVAN: He was great. I think he’s a conscientious kid. He’s a pleasure to coach. We just talked about, you know, just playing the game the right way, focusing on the details shift after shift, not being concerned about scoring goals or making plays. If he just plays the game the right way, you know, it’s winning puck battles, it’s the wall play, it’s gaining lines, it’s taking what the game gives you. When the plays are there, his instincts will take over. He’s a real talented kid. So we just tried to shift the focus a little bit with him. We tried to cut his minutes because he was playing a lot of minutes. This is his first year pro, coming out of college, where he’s not used to playing the NHL schedule, and the demands of that physically, not to mention a long playoff run. So we just thought if we cut his minutes, we’d get more productive minutes from him. I think he’s had an opportunity to get a little bit of a second wind. He’s getting his legs back. I think his confidence is there. You can see how good of a player he is. We can move him up and down the lineup. We thought he was having a good game tonight. We moved him up with Sid. Thought they had a solid game.

Q. Mike, we know you guys are opportunistic, don’t need a lot. How does that impact the game as it goes along for your team to understand you are opportunistic, that if the game is going along the way it did tonight, it still won’t take much for you to take over?

MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I think this team believes, has an inner belief that we can score goals. They’ve provided plenty of evidence for themselves to suggest that. I know our guys believe in their ability to finish. It’s about making sure that if we don’t get anything, we try to limit the opportunities of our opponent to the best of our ability. We’re going to go through stretches in games where, you know, we might get a handful of shifts in a row where we don’t get an opportunity.

Q. How is Nick Bonino feeling after taking that shot off the feet? How would you describe the lift the team got seeing him come back out?

MIKE SULLIVAN: I didn’t really ask him how he was feeling. I can’t answer that question for you. I know that he’s an inspiring guy for our team. He plays his best when the stakes are high. He’s a great shot-blocker. He’s a brave kid. When he comes back, you know, on the bench, I know it gives our whole bench a boost.

Q. Rust to Guentzel pass off pads, is that something you try when all else fails? Do you work on that a lot?

MIKE SULLIVAN: We practice it all season long almost daily.

Q. What is the right time for that?

MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, the players have to make those decisions. I think it’s a smart play. Sometimes players are shooting to score. Sometimes players are shooting to create a next play. That’s a circumstance where he’s shooting to create a next play. Our team works on that all season long. Now it’s up to the players to trust their instincts on when those opportunities present themselves, whether or not they’re shooting to score goals or whether they’re shooting to create that next play. A lot of it just depends on circumstances.