NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at Columbus|
(Sunday, December 29th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 5, Columbus 3
Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - James Neal recorded his fourth career hat-
trick along with two assists to help lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-3 win
over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz each registered a goal and two assists for the
Penguins, who have won nine of their last 10 contests. Jeff Zatkoff made 25
stops in the win.
"We generated enough chances and I'm glad we found the back of the net," said
Brandon Dubinsky, Corey Tropp and Nikita Nikitin lit the lamp for the Blue
Jackets, who had a three-game win streak snapped. Curtis McElhinney made 25
Crosby broke the tie at the 10:51 mark in the third. He and Kunitz had a give
right in front of the net where McElhinney made the initial save that dropped
in front of him, but Mark Letestu collided into his goalie and the puck
trickled between McElhinney's legs into the net for a 3-2 edge.
Kunitz put Pittsburgh up two a little more than two minutes later with a
power-play blast from the right dot. Neal made it 5-2 at the 17:33 mark with a
goal in traffic.
"They scored on 50 percent of their power-play and that just can't happen,"
Nikitin added a goal with 1:29 left that accounted for the final margin.
Dubinsky started the scoring when he gathered the puck after a Pens turnover
in the left circle, switched to his backhand and slid it through Zatkoff's
pads to take the lead 3:59 in. The Pens answered quickly, less than a minute
later. Just 28 seconds into a power play, Neal's wrister from the high slot
tied it up.
Neal scored his second of the game at 8:34 in the second after he batted the
puck out of the air, Crosby settled it and fed Neal in the slot, and his snap
shot beat McElhinney glove side.
About five minutes later, Tropp dangled in the slot to get through Olli
Maatta's legs, then beat Zatkoff in tight to make it 2-2.
The Penguins are 4-0 this season against Columbus ... Pittsburgh is 28-4-1
this season when Crosby records a point ... Columbus sent Ryan Craig to AHL
Springfield prior to the game ... Pens defensemen Rob Scuderi (broken ankle)
returned after 29-game absence ... Pens center Evgeni Malkin missed his
seventh game in a row due to a lower-body injury.
12/29 22:55:03 ET