Penguins' Kunitz quiet cog in hockey's top line

WILL GRAVES AP Sports Writer Published:

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz can't really explain why he works so well with linemates James Neal and Evgeni Malkin, though his teammates have a few theories.

Neal points out that Kunitz has built a career playing alongside high-profile players by doing all the little things. Kunitz fit in seamlessly with Sidney Crosby before the All-Star was sidelined by concussion-like symptoms over a year ago.

Kunitz is doing the same since being teamed with Neal and Malkin in December when Crosby's symptoms resurfaced following a short return.

The trio has combined for 43 of the team's 83 goals since being put together Dec. 10, with Kunitz chipping in seven goals and 18 assists over that span. He's on pace to surpass the career-high 60 points he put up while playing for Anaheim in 2006-07.