Pittsburgh 5, Columbus 3

Sunday, December 29, 2013 6:00 PM

Final Scoring Summary

Team Records

Team W/L Home Away Streak
Pittsburgh 29-11-1-0 17-3-0-0 12-8-1-0 W2
Columbus 17-18-3-1 9-9-1-1 8-9-2-0 L1


Penguins 5, Blue Jackets 3: James Neal recorded his fourth career hat trick en route to his first five-point performance as visiting Pittsburgh defeated Columbus for the fourth time this season.

Captain Sidney Crosby added to his league scoring lead with a goal and two assists while Chris Kunitz contributed the same for the Penguins, who improved to 14-4-0 against Metropolitan Division opponents. Jeff Zatkoff made 25 saves in his first start in four contests, improving to 7-2-0.

Brandon Dubinsky, Corey Tropp and defenseman Nikita Nikitin tallied for the Blue Jackets, who saw their three-game winning streak come to an end. Curtis McElhinney stopped 25 shots.

Crosby slipped behind the Blue Jackets' defense to finish a give-and-go with Kunitz 10:51 into the third period to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead. The superstar then found Kunitz for a one-timer from the slot on a power play 2:07 later and Neal completed his hat trick on another power play with 2:27 remaining.

Dubinsky opened the scoring 3:59 into the game but Neal tied it with the man advantage 56 seconds later and gave Pittsburgh its first lead 8:34 into the second period. Tropp made a nifty move to get around Penguins rookie defenseman Olli Maatta and forced a forehand deke under Zatkoff’s left pad to knot the contest at 2-2 with 6:18 remaining in the period.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Neal has eight points (four goals, four assists) in two games since the holiday break. … Pittsburgh finished 3-for-6 with the man-advantage. … The Penguins and Blue Jackets will meet for a fifth and final time on March 28 in Columbus.

Top Game Performances

Pittsburgh   Columbus
James Neal 5 Points Nikita Nikitin 2
James Neal 3 Goals Nikita Nikitin 1
James Neal 2 Assists Nikita Nikitin 1
James Neal 2 Power Play Goals N/A
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Jeff Zatkoff .893 Save Percentage Curtis McElhinney .833
Jeff Zatkoff 25 Saves Curtis McElhinney 25

Team Stats Summary

Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Pittsburgh 30 5 3-6 3-3 6 33
Columbus 28 3 0-3 3-6 12 27

Upcoming Games

  • Columbus will play its next game on the road against Colorado. The Blue Jackets have a W/L % of .412 after a win and .455 after a loss.
  • Pittsburgh will play its next game on the road against New Jersey. The Penguins have a W/L % of .759 after a win and .583 after a loss.
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