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Stanley Cup Final

Small Plays

'Small play' by Neal opens Pens' blowout of Sens

Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 6:01 PM / Small Plays

NHL.com

Visa presents "Small Plays" which looks at the little things during a game that turn into big results. Here is a recent example from Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators.

Neal's reach in the neutral zone opens the door: Pittsburgh and Ottawa were stuck in a 2-2 stalemate early in the second period of Game 4 Wednesday night, with the Senators hoping to tie up the Eastern Conference Semifinal and the Penguins looking to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. As Pittsburgh moved the puck through the neutral zone, James Neal reached forward to chip it over to Kris Letang, who was skating down his right wing. Letang put a shot on net, and while the puck didn't go in, Jarome Iginla was there to pick up the rebound and give the Penguins the lead for good in an eventual 7-3 win. That victory has Pittsburgh one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals, and the go-ahead goal wouldn't have been possible without Neal's chip.

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery