James Neal is out of his mind lately. On the season he's got 30 points (14 goals, 16 assists) in just 21 games, which is a slightly better points-per-game rate than NHL leading scorer than Sidney Crosby (1.43 to 1.41). Neal's season has been interrupted by injury and his own action causing a five game suspension, but when he's been on the ice, look out. Neal has 10 points in five games since returning from his suspension, highlighted by eight points in the past two games.
Injured teammate and usual linemate Evgeni Malkin has gotten in the fun too, in the form of hijacking the post-game interviews that Neal has done with Dan Potash of Root Sports.
And when that happens, everyone wins.
First, there was the three point night in Carolina on Friday night, capped off by the game-winning overtime goal. Malkin, who's been traveling with the team as his return from injury seems imminent, was all too happy to show his joy for Neal.
Then, last night in Columbus, Neal had a hat trick (and tacked on two more assists) in the Pens 5-3 win over the Blue Jackets, so of course Malkin had to show up again and let his "lazy" buddy know about it.
This of course is leading to the climatic moment next game when Neal scores 10 points and Malkin does a Darryl Sitter impression.
Go Geno, Go Lazy, Go Pens.