Neal scores twice against former teammates
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In a meeting of the NHL's conference leaders, the Penguins got two goals from former Dallas winger James Neal in a 3-1 win over the Stars tonight at Consol Energy Center.
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury improved to 6-0-1 in his past seven games, and the Penguins improved to 5-0-2 against the Western Conference.
Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski, obtained in a trade with the Penguins in February, played the full first period but did not return. He was seen leaving the arena with his left thumb heavily bandaged.
Dallas got the only goal of the first period.
Eric Nystrom from near the penalty boxes, passed ahead to Radek Dvorak, then made a dash for the slow. Dvorak carried the puck into the Penguins zone. From along the half wall, Dvorak sent a backward pass toward the net, and Nystrom swept it past the glove of Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for a 1-0 Stars lead at 18:46.
The Penguins outshot Dallas, 13-5, in the first period.
Perhaps the Penguins' best chance of the period came at 10:40 when James Neal, from the right corner, sent a backward bullet toward the crease. Evgeni Malkin tipped it toward the net, but Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen smothered the puck.
The Penguins thought they got the tying goal on a power play at 17:32 of the second period but it was ruled -- and upheld under review -- that Chris Kunitz deflected in a shot by Evgeni Malkin with a high stick.
Kunitz picked up an assist 24 seconds later when the Penguins scored on the same power play. Away from his customary spot in front of the net, Kunitz worked the puck in from the left point and set up Neal, whose shot from above the left dot scooted under Lehtonen to make it 1-1 at 17:56.
The Penguins had another power-play goal waved off, at 6:56 of the third period, when it was ruled that Kunitz interfered with Lehtonen as a shot from Malkin bounced in off the backside of the Stars' Trevor Daley.
And again, the Penguins came back and scored on the same power play.
On this one, Malkin set up Neal, whose pass for Kunitz went between the legs of Dallas' Stephane Robidas and in off the stick of the Stars' Mark Fistric. That gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead at 7:19.
Matt Cooke gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead at 9:28 of the third period on a penalty shot after he was tripped by Daley on a breakaway. Cooke ranged to the left, moved toward the net and lifted the puck over Lehtonen's right pad.
It was Cooke's 100th point with the Penguins.
The Penguins play Saturday night at Carolina.
First Published November 11, 2011 9:51 pm