PITTSBURGH -- Poor James Neal. The winger lost his world-class former scoring champion center to injury.
The replacement? A world-class former scoring champion center.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without Evgeni Malkin for Sunday night's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning due to an upper-body injury. As a result, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma bumped Neal, who is tied for the National Hockey League lead in goals, up onto a line with Sidney Crosby.
"James is an elite guy at getting open and finding areas, and that doesn't change who the centerman is," Bylsma said. "He's going to do that and that's what he's going to be able to do playing next to Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin."
Neal will begin Sunday's game on Crosby's right wing, with Chris Kunitz in his customary spot to Crosby's left.