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Barry Pederson on D&C: Bruins ‘forwards last night were awful with puck management’

06.20.13 at 11:19 am ET
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The Bruins defense did not get enough support from the Boston forwards in Wednesday night's Game 4, leading to a Blackhawks victory in overtime. (AP)

NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to talk about the Bruins’ loss in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals.

The Blackhawks offense broke out with a six-goal performance in the game, which was more than the Bruins had allowed in their last four games combined. Pederson said that the Bruins defense struggled because the team’s forwards consistently turned the puck over in the neutral zone.

“Your defense creates your offense and it’s your forwards that create your team defense,” Pederson said. “Well the forwards last night were awful with puck management. Turnovers, of course that first goal with [Tyler] Seguin turning it over, but throughout the game Brad Marchand, [Milan] Lucic, they all struggled in areas where they had been very responsible at throughout the playoffs, not allowing outnumbered opportunities. You could also see that as that happened, the turnovers, the transition, Chicago’s speed started to jump in, they got some confidence, you saw [Duncan] Keith jumping in, [Brent] Seabrook, [Michal] Rozsival from the backside.”

Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg were a combined minus-5 on the night, in part due to their inability to keep Chicago forwards away from the front of the net. However, Pederson noted that the B’s forwards did not give them much help in the defensive zone like they had throughout the rest of the playoffs.

“If you can allow Chara and Seidenberg that even-up opportunity with two-on-two, there is no way [Tuukka Rask is not able to see shots through screens],” Pederson said. “They were coming at them with three-on-twos and four-on-twos. When you’re Chara and Seidenberg, when you see that, normally you are taking away their space by attacking defensively at them. Now you see you have an outnumbered opportunity you’ve got to back in. As soon as you back in you give up the blue line, and when you give up the blue line now Chicago can go east-west and not just north-south, which causes problems. As you back off and you have speed, now that allows Chicago to get in front of Tuukka with that front-net presence. You can’t get inside position, you can’t box out because they’re coming at you in waves.

“But again, that all started with poor puck management in the neutral zone, getting caught defensively, you saw a couple of times when you saw the Bruins defense do what they were supposed to do which was pinch, but there were no forwards behind them backing them up like there was earlier on in the playoffs.”

However, Pederson pointed out that the silver lining for the Bruins in Game 4 was that they seemed to have figured out Corey Crawford. All five goals went to the glove side, which reminded Pederson of the goalie the Bruins beat last time they were in the Stanley Cup finals.

“To me, as that game wore on last night, he looked exactly like Roberto Luongo having trouble with that glove,” Pederson said. “You watch him when he goes into that stance and he is anticipating a shot, instead of having his glove to his side where it should be, he has it up by his head. When he goes down, his glove has to go from by his ear all the way down to by his pads, and right in that area is where they were scoring.

“He didn’t look comfortable. It was almost like he was sitting there — and I can remember my baseball days playing second base saying, ‘Don’t hit the ball to me.’ He didn’t want that puck on him. It must have been overtime when he was sitting — that one dump in by [David] Krejci on a snap shot from the blue line gave him all kinds of trouble.”

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.

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