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Penguins fall to Bruins in anemic offensive effort

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Penguins coach Michel Therrien rarely shies
away from criticizing his players after poor performances.

That certainly didn't change after his team lost for the 17th
time in 18 games, this time 3-1 to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday
night.

"It was a bad performance," Therrien said after Pittsburgh was
outshot 38-17 to fall to 1-15-2 since Jan. 3. "It started the
first shift. [Goalie] Marc-Andre Fleury was outstanding tonight. It
could have been pretty ugly. I am really disappointed with their
performance.

"Unacceptable performance for those players. Unacceptable. ...
It's not a matter of confidence. It's a matter of hard work."

Brad Stuart scored two power-play goals for Boston, which has
earned at least one point in 11 of its last 13 games and is 16-10-4
since acquiring Stuart as part of a package in a trade for captain
Joe Thornton.

The two goals tied a career high for Stuart, who has only 10
goals this season.

"We'll take goals from whoever we can get them from and if it
happens to be the defense then that's a good thing for us," Stuart
said.

Stuart's first goal came when Brian Leetch's shot deflected off
Stuart's right ankle with just less than 4 minutes to go in the
second period. The play was reviewed by the video goal judge to
ensure that Stuart did not kick the puck in.

"Leetch was trying to do a slap pass to me and it kind of got
away from him, but sometimes you get those lucky breaks," Stuart
said. "I knew I hadn't made a kicking motion. The only thing I
tried to do was I tried to move my leg and get my stick on it. But
I was pretty confident that they would realize that it wasn't a
kicking motion."

Leetch returned to the lineup after missing the past three games
-- and 10 of the past 12 -- due to a groin injury.

Stuart made it 3-0 when he scored on a wrist shot through
Fleury's legs with 13:45 to play. It officially was a power-play
goal, but it was practically a 5-on-3 goal as it was scored the
second Pittsburgh's Tomas Surovy stepped out of the penalty box.

"I think we made it easy for them to play against us,"
Pittsburgh rookie Sidney Crosby said. "We can't play many more
games like we did tonight or else it's going to make the next games
tough."

Travis Green gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead 7 minutes into the
second period when he collected a rebound of Josh Langfeld's shot
just to the right of Fleury, deked around Fleury's stick and roofed
a shot as he stood beyond the goal line.

Green had not scored since Jan. 19 and has only two goals in his
last 15 games.

"I don't put a lot of stock into whether I score or not, but it
was nice, though," Green said. "It was nice to get one tonight. A
bit of a relief, that's for sure."

Glen Murray assisted on both of Stuart's goals.

Surovy ruined Tim Thomas' shutout bid when he scored on a
rebound with 1:31 left.

"It was a little frustrating because [shutouts] aren't easy to
come by," said Thomas, who has allowed only six goals in his last
five games. "But we got the win, and that's the important thing."

Boston completed a sweep of the season series. It defeated
Pittsburgh 6-3 twice in Boston and 7-6 on Oct. 8 at Mellon Arena.
The teams had not played each other since Nov. 5.

The Penguins went 0-for-6 on the power play, meaning Boston has
killed 94 of its last 105 short-handed situations.

"I thought we played well," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said.
"I thought we made clear decisions with the puck and came out and
played with good energy."

Therrien was not nearly as happy with his team. Pittsburgh has
allowed 15 goals in its last 48 short-handed situations.

"There are certain things a coaching staff can do," Therrien
said. "But it's up to the players to be prepared. It's part of
their responsibility to come and be ready to play and ready to
work. Tonight was a bad performance."

Game notes
The Bruins acquired goalie Brian Eklund from Tampa Bay for
forward Zdenek Blatny. Boston assigned Eklund to its American
Hockey League affiliate in Providence. ... The Penguins have not
won a season series against the Bruins since the 1997-98 season,
when they went 3-2-1. This is the second time since 1987-88 that
the Penguins were winless against the Bruins. ... The game was the
600th of Boston defenseman Hal Gill's career.