NHL - Penguins go top with win over Stars

Sat, 12 Nov 05:39:00 2011

The Pittsburgh Penguins took top spot in the National Hockey League with a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars.

2011-12 NHL Pittsburgh Penguins' Matt Niskanen (L) and Deryk Engelland (R) congratulate teammate Arron Asham - 0

Penguins winger James Neal scored two power-play goals against his former team as the home side shrugged off two disallowed goals to snap the Stars' four-game win streak.

"It's always nice to get (a good performance) against your former team," Neal said. "The main thing is us playing a top team and beating them. They came in here to play us hard and we came back and played a great game ourselves."

Both of Neal's goals came after Eastern Conference leaders Pittsburgh had scores disallowed due to infractions by Chris Kunitz.

Neal's first goal tied the game at 1-1 in the second period, 24 seconds after Kunitz had illegally redirected a shot past Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen with a high stick.

Neal extended the Penguins lead to 2-1 in the third period, 23 seconds after Kunitz was called for goalie interference negating another Pittsburgh goal.

"I don't know if I've ever seen a better response from a team and the guys, both in preparing themselves to go back out when it was a no-goal call and then going out and executing with the rest of the power play," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.

"That's pretty impressive to get back out there and not put your head down, get ready to execute and take advantage of what was left. They were both very big goals for us."

Matt Cooke was hauled down on a clear breakaway by Trevor Daley and was awarded a penalty shot, which he scored to push the Penguins lead to 3-1 midway through the third period.

"Thankfully, we practice it (the shootout) a lot and I felt remotely comfortable out there," Cooke said. "I picked a move from the get-go and I knew that's what I was going to do. I stuck with it and was fortunate enough it went in."

Eric Nystrom scored the only goal for Dallas, the top team in the West, tapping in a perfect pass from Radek Dvorak in the first period.

"We didn't have the jump we normally do," Nystrom said.

"When those guys get a chance to make a play, they're going to make it every single time.

"It's disappointing on a stage like that to try to show your best and you don't play your best. We're better than that."

Reuters

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