James Neal leaves game for Penguins

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

James Neal had to leave the Penguins season opener after taking just five shifts.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal played just 3:49 in the first period of Thursday's game against the New Jersey Devils before heading to the locker room with an injury.

He did not take a shift over the final six minutes of the period and was not on the bench for the start of the second period.

Neal was questionable heading into the game after leaving practice early on Wednesday with what was called an "upper body injury." He also did not take part in the morning skate on Thursday.

Since joining the Penguins mid-way through the 2010-11 season in a trade with the Dallas Stars, Neal has found a home alongside Evgeni Malkin to help form one of the best offensive duos in the league. Since the start of the 2011-12 season Neal's 61 goals are good enough for third in the league, trailing only Steven Stamkos (89) and Alex Ovechkin (71).

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