James Neal’s hat trick leads Preds past Chicago

James Neal (AP Photo)

James Neal racked up his fifth career hat trick as the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena.

Neal’s first goal of the game in the first period with Nashville trailing 1-0 tied the game at 1. In the second period Filip Forsberg found Neal in the slot for a beautiful one-timer and a 2-1 lead. Neal’s final tally came in the third period when he poked home a rebound off of slap shot from Ryan Ellis.

The Predators traded veterans Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling to Pittsburgh prior to the NHL Draft to bring in the proven goal scorer, and Neal has lived up to the reputation by leading Nashville with five goals in only seven games.

Pekka Rinne had 30 saves in the net for Nashville. Forsberg had another productive night with two more assists.

With the win the Predators are 5-0-2 and the only team in the NHL unbeaten in regulation.

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