Getting to skate on a line with Evgeni Malkin would be nice for most players in the league. For a talented guy like James Neal it’s been nothing short of magic for the Penguins this season and with Neal due to be a restricted free agent after the season, Pittsburgh’s brass wanted to make sure he stays in town.
Penguins GM Ray Shero knew that the more Neal continued to pump in goals, the higher Neal’s price tag would rise. Rewarding him with a deal that will be worth $5 million a year against the cap works out well for both sides, especially if Neal keeps scoring goals the way he has this year.
With Sidney Crosby’s status seemingly always in the air and Jordan Staal missing time for a bit as well, Neal and Malkin have teamed up to provide the offense they would’ve otherwise missed out on this season. Neal himself has been a sniper the likes of which Pittsburgh hasn’t seen in town in a long time.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger