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Barry Pederson on D&C: Penguins ‘forgot to play their game and work hard’

06.04.13 at 10:17 am ET
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Patrice Bergeron reaches around Sidney Crosby for the puck during the Bruins' Game 2 rout Monday night. (AP)

NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to offer his opinion of the B’s 6-1 rout of the Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

“I’m a little bit shocked at what I just witnessed last night. … How ill-prepared the Pittsburgh Penguins looked right from the opening faceoff of not only Game 2 but Game 1,” Pederson said. “It’s as if when they had their eight days off to prepare, they watched the Vancouver series the year the Bruins won the Cup and they said to themselves, ‘Listen, we’re not going to let them out-hit us, out-physical us. Let’s make sure that we start running around and be physical to show that we’re not going to be pushed around.’ But they completely forgot to play their game and work hard and do the little things.

“And then of course when you have bad goaltending that also breaks the spirit. They are not heading in the right direction, to say the least.”

Added Pederson: “I also think they got off to the wrong start in Game 1 where they looked rattled, they looked like they were very fragile, whining and complaining about calls. Even yesterday you could see that when things were offside they were jumping all over the linesman as if the linesman made mistakes. They look like they’re not focused, and they’re looking at the wrong things instead of themselves.”

Most of the criticism is being heaped upon stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

“When you’re talking about these two, to me, you’re talking about the two best players in the National Hockey League — not even the National Hockey League, in the world,” Pederson said. “When you sit there and you look now, you’re talking about two players that have lost their direction. They look like they’re unfocused. They’re I think setting bad examples for their teammates in the sense that they’re not working hard enough. You saw last night a number of fly-by situations where they had chances to stop, do the little things that you need to do to win championships.

“So, they’ve lost their focus and their direction, and they’ve got to get that back. Because they’re the ones that the team is going to be looking to here in Game 3 to kind of help them turn things around.”

The Penguins replaced goalie Tomas Vokoun with Marc-Andre Fleury in the first period Monday night. Both gave up three goals. Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask continued to be strong in the Boston net, as he’s allowed just one goal in two games.

“You can’t underestimate what bad goaltending does to the human spirit on the ice,” Pederson said. “And then flip that on the other side, what Rask’s goaltending has done for the Bruins throughout the year and throughout the playoffs. Whenever they make a mistake, the Bruins, they feel that Rask is there to back them up. Now Pittsburgh’s in that mindset, that loop, that vicious loop, negative loop that if they make a mistake it’s in the back of the net.”

Looking at the Penguins’ goaltending decision for Game 3, Pederson said: “I’ve got to go with Fleury. I think it’s the only chance I’ve got. … When you put Vokoun in [in the opening round against the Islanders after Fleury struggled], he was probably obviously good enough to win a series or two. Was he good enough to take you to the Cup? Fleury has to play his game. He’s proven in the past he can do it. But right now he has lost his game mentally as well. But I think the only hope you have is Fleury.”

To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Barry Pederson, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Sidney Crosby
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