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."
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.
|Travis Green (8) ASST: Josh Langfeld (10), Hal Gill (7)|
1 - 0 BOS
|PPG - Brad Stuart (9) ASST: Brian Leetch (18), Glen Murray (17)|
2 - 0 BOS
|PPG - Brad Stuart (10) ASST: Brad Boyes (24), Glen Murray (18)|
3 - 0 BOS
|Tomas Surovy (9) ASST: Eric Boguniecki (7)|
3 - 1 BOS
|Power Play %||17.8%||19.3%|
|% on Road||14.7%||16.4%|
|% at Home||21.2%||22.0%|
|Ryan Malone Hooking against Wayne Primeau|
|Glen Murray Tripping against Colby Armstrong|
|Hal Gill Holding against Konstantin Koltsov|
|David Tanabe Holding against Sidney Crosby|
|Brooks Orpik Hooking against Wayne Primeau|
|Eric Cairns Tripping against Thomas Fitzgerald|
|Richard Jackman Holding against Wayne Primeau|
|Hal Gill Holding against Konstantin Koltsov|
|Tomas Surovy Tripping against Wayne Primeau|
|Josef Melichar Tripping against Sergei Samsonov|
|Travis Green Hooking against Ryan Whitney|
|David Tanabe Hi-sticking against John Leclair|