It took a few games for James Neal to get the lay of the land with Nashville, but now he’s really starting to pay dividends for the Predators. The hard-shooting power forward scored his first hat trick with his new team during Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Let’s just say hat tricks aren’t a common sight for Predators fans:
Here’s video of his hat trick:
After generating a 21-15 shot advantage against Chicago through the first 40 minutes, Nashville held on for dear life in the closing minutes. Pekka Rinne managed to hold off a Blackhawks attack (17 shots to the Preds’ six), as Andrew Shaw was the only Blackhawk to beat him in the third period.
Nashville improves to 5-0-2 (including taking three out of a possible four points in two home games against Chicago) while the Blackhawks suffered their first regulation loss, falling to 4-1-1.
It remains to be seen if the Predators are for real, but if any statement comes from this outcome, it’s that Neal and Rinne can take over a game … even against the NHL’s elite.