NEW YORK, N.Y. - Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal will replace Washington's Alex Ovechkin at this weekend's NHL all-star game.
Ovechkin decided he won't participate in the game because of a three-game suspension handed to the Capitals star by the NHL earlier this week.
Neal opened the regular-season with nine goals in his first 12 games and has ranked among NHL goal-scoring leaders since.
The 24-year-old from Whitby, Ont., has 27 goals, tied with Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews for second in the NHL scoring race.
Neal will make his second appearance at all-star weekend, having played in the YoungStars game ? between rookies and sophomore ? in 2009 at Montreal.