Tue, Dec 31, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Neal leads Penguins over Blue Jackets


Pittsburgh Penguins left wing James Neal, left, celebrates his hat-trick against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.

Photo: USA TODAY / Russell LaBounty

James Neal scored three times and had two assists, and Sidney Crosby scored the go-ahead goal and set up two other tallies to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3 on Sunday night.

Chris Kunitz added his 21st goal and two assists, while Jeff Zatkoff made 25 saves for the Penguins, who have won all four meetings with Columbus this season.

Neal scored twice on the power play, including his third goal of the night and 14th of the season with 2 minutes, 27 seconds left — giving him a career-high five points.

Brandon Dubinsky, Corey Tropp and Nikita Nikitin scored for the Blue Jackets before their biggest home crowd of the season, 18,871. Nikitin also had an assist.


In Buffalo, New York, Ryan Miller made 49 saves to carry Buffalo to a shootout win over Washington.

Drew Stafford netted Buffalo’s goal in regulation, and Steve Ott scored the lone shootout goal in the sixth round as the Sabres improved to 5-0-1 in their past six home games after starting 3-12-1 there.

Miller stopped all six Washington shootout attempts.

Philipp Grubauer made 16 saves for Washington, while Troy Brouwer scored the Capitals’ only goal. Alex Ovechkin recorded 12 shots, but failed to earn a point.

Washington had the first 12 shots on goal, and with 13:52 gone, Miller stopped Eric Fehr from point-blank range to keep the Capitals off the board. Buffalo finally put a shot on Grubauer with 4:23 left in the first. Matt D’Agostini’s odd-angle snap shot was met with a loud cheer from the home crowd.


In San Jose, California, Bracken Kearns scored his first NHL goal, while Logan Couture netted his 100th as San Jose broke Anaheim’s 10-game winning streak.

Brent Burns added a goal for the Sharks, who won their fourth straight. Antti Niemi stopped 30 shots in his 21st win of the season.

Patrick Maroon scored for the Ducks, who lost for the first time this month and missed a chance for a club-record, seven-game winning streak on the road.

In other NHL action, it was:

‧ Panthers 4, Canadiens 1

‧ Blues 3, Stars 2, OT

‧ Rangers 4, Lightning 3

‧ Islanders 5, Wild 4

‧ Maple Leafs 5, Hurricanes 2

‧ Jets 2, Avalanche 1, OT

‧ Canucks 2, Flames 0

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