The sweater is the same. So is the job description. Most of his teammates are, too, for that matter. The productivity, though, could not be much more different. Last season, James Neal scored two goals in 27 regular-season and playoff games after being acquired from Dallas. Thirty-eight games into 2011-12, he already has 21 -- six shy of the career-best 27 he got with the Stars in 2009-10 -- and has done nothing to suggest he will not be able to maintain that pace. Or, perhaps, accelerate it. "I just feel way more confident out there," Neal said. "My confidence is obviously high, and that's a huge thing. "Just the way we play here and the way our systems are, I feel like I fit into that when I got here. Obviously, I didn't produce last year, but it's just a great way to play. "It's a recipe for success, and, playing with great players like [Chris Kunitz] and [Evgeni Malkin], it just plays into that."
Comfortable Neal churns out goals
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Jan 4