One day after leading the Penguins to a 5-3 defeat of the Columbus Blue Jackets thanks to his fourth career hat trick and two assists, Penguins forward James Neal was named NHL ‘Third Star’ for the week ending Dec. 29.
Neal finished the week leading all NHL players with eight points (4G-4A) in three games. His four goals were tied for second-most behind Chicago’s Patrick Sharp (6 goals).
Neal’s five-point effort, which included a pair of power-play markers, established a single-game career high in points for him. The win helped the Penguins wrap up the first half of the season with a 29-11-1 record.
In Pittsburgh’s dramatic 4-3 overtime, come-from-behind win at Carolina on Dec. 27, Neal scored his first regular-season overtime goal as a Penguin and added a pair of assists.
Despite playing just 21 games thus far this season, Neal is Pittsburgh’s fourth-leading scorer with 30 points (14G-16A). His 1.43 point-per-game average is the top figure in the NHL, just slightly ahead of teammate Sidney Crosby (1.41).
NHL Monthly/Weekly Awards Earned by Penguins Players in 2013-14
Sidney Crosby – ‘Second Star’ of October
Evgeni Malkin – ‘Second Star’ of November
‘Third Star’ for the week ending Dec. 29
‘Second Star’ for the week ending Dec. 22
‘Second Star’ for the week ending Oct. 20
‘Third Star’ for the week ending Oct. 13
‘First Star’ for the week ending Dec. 1
‘First Star’ for the week ending Nov. 24
‘Second Star’ for the week ending Nov. 3
‘Third Star’ for the first week ending Oct. 6