Nashville Predators 3, Edmonton Oilers 2: Neal Tricks The Oilers, Preds Streaking Again

The Predators finish their Canadian campaign with a win over an AHL team.

The Nashville Predators beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in their final Canadian road game of the regular season. James Neal was ripping shots like a machine tonight, providing all the scoring for the Predators. Nashville had to play through some sloppiness early, but eventually stiffened up enough to get the win.

Jordan Eberle got things started for the Oilers, following a defensive turnover by Shea Weber. James Neal tied things up just over a minute later, getting a sweet pass from Anthony Bitetto. Through 20 minutes, both teams looked as fast on the offensive end as they did sloppy on the defensive end. In the 2nd, the Oilers took advantage of Mattias Ekholm's broken stick, with Iiro Pakarinen eventually finding the puck and the back of the net. But James Neal answered again, this time only 20 seconds later, ripping one high past Laurent Brossoit.

The game would even out somewhat at that point, with each team working hard to generate occasional scoring chances into the 3rd period. Both goaltenders would hold their own, both defenses improved. The Oilers seemed to sit back on their heels early on in the 3rd period, and James Neal decided not to wait for the Oilers to score first. Finding some room on the left side, Neal earned his 6th career hat-trick and gave the Preds their first lead of the game.

From there, the Predators would fortify their defense and hold on to win 3-2. Pekka Rinne played another great game, stopping 28 of 30 shots in the win.

Oh and the Blackhawks lost 5-0. Mondays, huh?

Random Observations

  • Laurent Brossoit, a French post-impressionist painter whose work inspired the cubist movement, is the goalie for the Oilers tonight.
  • Jordan Eberle puts the Oilers up 1-0. Shea Weber made an ill-advised blind pass that didn't connect at the blue line and Connor McDavid broke in on Rinne and found Eberle with a wide open net. More poor defensively play in front of the Nashville net leads to an early deficit.
  • ... that James Neal balances! Sweet pass from Anthony Bitetto. Tie game! We could be in for a doozy this evening.
  • Ekholm's stick broke and the Oilers score soon after. I feel like I see broken lumber on the ice at least once during every Predators game. They don't always lead to goals allowed, but that one sure did.
  • ... and James Neal again!! A sick rip from the top of the right circle. Brossoit didn't see it. Unbelievable answer from HJN once again.
  • Rinne with a couple huge stops in this 2nd period. Preds have been floundering in their own end and can't get a sustained attack in the Oilers end. Rinne and Neal keeping the team in the game so far.
  • TAKE YO HATS OFF. James Neal rips yet another goal by Brossoit, this time from the left side. Neal's shot has a gear that Brossoit is not used to seeing. Wow. Preds with the lead in the 3rd.
  • Solid, solid game from Rinne. Wasn't tested as much as we've seen in recent games, but he played well.
  • Weber and Josi were +8/+7 even-strength Corsi tonight. Connor McDavid, the kid they were tasked with stopping, was -4. The Preds top defensive line, along with great pressure from the top forward lines, did a great job keeping Mr. Jesus Man in his own defensive zone for most of the night.

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • James Neal: lightning quick release, great shooting vision. Deadly combination.
  • Calle Jarnkrok: 2 assists and 2 shots. Tonight was a nice reminder of what he can do while on that top line. Sees the ice well, two-play player, aggresive on the puck.
  • Pekka Rinne: 28 saves and looked very calm in net. Keep. It. Going.

Tweets of the Game

Boxscore - Game Summary - Event Summary - War-on-Ice - HockeyStats - Natural Stat Trick

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