Nashville Predators forward James Neal was expected to be an offensive difference-maker coming into this season. He was able to live up to expectations Thursday, scoring his fifth career hat trick in a 3-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena.
“It was a big game tonight,” Neal said. “We didn’t like the way we ended it against Chicago in their barn (a 2-1 Blackhawks overtime win Saturday) and obviously a little redemption tonight. I think every guy played hard.”
Neal scored a goal in each period to get the natural hat trick. The Predators are 5-0-2 and remain in first place in the Central Division. The Blackhawks (4-1-1) lost for the first time in regulation.