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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

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'Small play' by Neal opens Pens' blowout of Sens
Visa presents "Small Plays," which looks at the little things during a game that turn into big results.

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.

Quote of the Day

That's a really tough thing to play through; when you finally are thrown out there, the game is fast, intense, every single play matters, you've got to find a way to play through that and make smart plays. So it's a huge testament to [Vermette] and some other individuals in our locker room that are putting their own ego, their own wants and needs aside, and are ready for those opportunities when they do come.

— Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews on teammate Antoine Vermette, who returned from being a healthy scratch in Game 3 to score the double-overtime winner in Game 4