Skip to main content
game recap

Neal hat trick powers Predators past Oilers

Forward scores goal in each period; Pekka Rinne makes 28 saves in win

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Correspondent

Neal completes hat trick

NSH@EDM: Neal nets third goal, gives Predators lead

3/14/16: James Neal fires a laser past Laurent Brossoit, giving him his sixth career hat trick and putting the Predators up one in the 3rd

  • 00:45 •

EDMONTON -- James Neal scored his sixth NHL hat trick in the Nashville Predators' 3-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Monday.

Goaltender Pekka Rinne made 28 saves for the Predators (35-22-13), who went 3-1-1 on their five-game road trip and are 10-1-5 in their past 16 games.

Nashville lost 4-2 at the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday and 3-2 in overtime at the Calgary Flames on Wednesday after winning the first two games of the trip.

"It was good to pull out a big win because points are so crucial at this point in the season and you have to play good hockey," Neal said. "I thought we could have been better in Vancouver. I thought we let that game slip away in the first, and then we were chasing it. Tonight, we wanted to be better and we were."

Video: NSH@EDM: Neal ties game with wrist shot in the 2nd

It was Neal's second hat trick with the Predators since being acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 27, 2014, for forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

Jordan Eberle and Iiro Pakarinen scored for the Oilers (27-38-7), and goaltender Laurent Brossoit made 22 saves in his fourth NHL start (0-3-1).

"I thought our guys played really hard tonight," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "James had some nice shots tonight and he's been pretty steady all year. Now other guys are starting to contribute here in the second half of the year. We're starting to get scoring from different lines and from the other forwards on a consistent basis, and obviously, that's going to help in the outcome."

Center Calle Jarnkrok had two assist for the Predators, who are five points behind the Chicago Blackhawks for third place in the Central Division and nine points ahead of the Minnesota Wild for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

Video: NSH@EDM: Rinne stops Kassian to keep the game tied

"When you look back at this road trip, we got seven points out of a possible 10, so we're happy with that," Rinne said. "It was a big win for us. We've been pretty good this year on the road. I don't know what's behind it; usually we're a pretty strong road team, and now it seems like we've been really strong on the road. That's a good sign for any team, and hopefully, we can now take care of business at home."

Eberle scored on Edmonton's first shot at 6:48 of the first period, redirecting a pass from Connor McDavid past Rinne.

It was the Oilers' first goal at Rexall Place in 129:51 after being shut out its past two home games, including a 4-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

"It was much better than it was last game. We played a smarter game and didn't give up outnumbered rushes," Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said. "We were better structurally. There were a lot of improvements. I don't like looking at it that way, though, because we were so bad in that last one. We were back to playing decent hockey tonight."

Video: NSH@EDM: Eberle opens scoring off of deflection

Neal tied it 1-1 at 8:04 of the first, going in on a breakaway off a pass from defenseman Anthony Bitetto and slipping the puck between Brossoit's pads.

Pakarinen gave Edmonton a 2-1 lead 31 seconds into the second period, taking a pass from Leon Draisaitl in front and lifting the puck over Rinne's shoulder.

Neal tied it 20 seconds later, going in on a rush down the right wing and beating Brossoit with a shot from the top of the faceoff circle.

"Anytime a team scores and the other team comes back and gets one right away, it deflates you a little bit," Neal said. "You get that surge of momentum when you score, and then the other team buries one, it takes you down a little bit, so that felt good to get that one."

Video: NSH@EDM: Pakarinen helps Oilers to 2-1 lead in 2nd

Matt Hendricks came close to putting the Oilers back in the lead later in the period, following up on a rush from Zack Kassian off the wing, but he poked the rebound wide.

"I liked our compete [level], I liked our battle level. We had a chance to win that game," Eberle said. "I just thought we played hard. We battled. We were in the game. I've said a lot during losses -- we don't want moral victories, we want to win games. We've got to find ways to win these games; tie game going into the third period, we need to find a way to get the puck to the net and bang one home."

Neal completed his hat trick when he scored the game-winning goal at 4:18 of the third, breaking into the Oilers zone and shooting over Brossoit's left shoulder.

"Those were good shots," Eberle said. "You have got to give Neal credit, he put it under the bar both times. I liked the way we competed, and obviously, those were bad timing for those goals. It sucks the wind out of you a little bit. But, for us, we still can't be happy with that. We need to win games."

Video: Neal's hat trick propels Predators to victory

View More