NEW YORK – Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal will replace Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin in the NHL All-Star game on Sunday.
Ovechkin backed out of the game after he was issued a three-game suspension from the league for a hit on an opponent.
Neal leads the Penguins with 27 goals and is second on the team with 47 points. Neal leads the NHL with 210 shots and is tied for the league lead with 13 power-play goals. The Penguins have won nine consecutive games and are 17-3-2 overall when Neal scores a goal.
The All-Star fantasy draft will be held on Thursday in Ottawa. It will divide the All-Stars into two teams: Team Alfredsson, led by Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson and Team Chara, featuring Boston captain Zdeno Chara.