The National Hockey League announced this morning that Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal
has been added to the roster for the 2012 NHL All-Star Game, which will be played this coming Sunday, Jan. 29, at 4 p.m. at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.
Neal joins teammates Evgeni Malkin
and Kris Letang
to give the Penguins three representatives in Ottawa.
Neal, 24, will be making his All-Star Game debut on Sunday. This will be his second time participating in All-Star Weekend, as he appeared in the 2009 YoungStars Game in Montreal.
The Whitby, Ontario native currently ranks second (tied) in the NHL with a team-leading 27 goals, matching his career high previously established with Dallas in 2009-10. Neal’s 47 points through 49 games rank second on the team behind NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin
, and leave him just eight points shy of equaling his career high of 55.
The 6-foot-2, 208-pound power forward enters the All-Star Break leading the NHL in both shots (210) and power-play goals (13, tied). He is also riding a four-game point streak (3G-4A).
Neal has been among the Penguins’ most valuable players all season long. When the team played much of October without Malkin and Sidney Crosby
, Neal tallied points in 10 of 13 games (9G-2A) to help Pittsburgh jump out of the gate to an 8-3-2 start.
Since Dec. 10, the Penguins have gone 9-0 when Neal has tallies at least once. For the season, the Penguins are 17-3-2 when he scores a goal. Twelve of Neal’s 27 goals this year have come during the third period, with seven of the 12 either being game-winning goals or game-tying tallies that have forced overtime.