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Predators slip by Oilers thanks to James Neal’s hat trick

James Neal, Ryan Johansen

Nashville Predators left wing James Neal (18) is congratulated bt teammate Ryan Johansen (92) after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)


When you win as often as the Nashville Predators have lately, you’re usually enjoying big nights from more than one player.

In Monday’s instance, James Neal was that go-to guy, scoring all three of the Predators’ goals in a 3-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers.

This marks the sixth hat trick of Neal’s career, but the first of 2015-16.

There isn’t an easy clip with all three goals in one spot, yet the last two are similar enough that it almost (almost) feels appropriate to merely insert two.

Instead, enjoy them in succession.

First, there’s his nice breakaway tally:

Prototypical sniper goal, Part. 1:

His second prototypical sniper goal was the difference-maker, and gave him that hat trick.

With the Central Division race still a few strides away, it’s possible that the Predators are merely beefing up their lead for the first wild card spot.

Even if that’s the case, going into the playoffs on a high note is rarely a bad thing, although it won’t help them sneak under the radar against the West’s second seed.