Preds Quick Hits From The Crease 3-15-16
It wasn’t picture perfect, but the Predators ended their road trip on a high note by defeating the Oilers 3-2. James Neal recorded his sixth career hat trick, the second with Nashville, taking advantage of rookie netminder Laurent Brossoit.
Brossoit didn’t have to make many difficult saves, but he clearly couldn’t get a read on Neal’s release. Neal beat Brossoit on a breakaway, going five-hole and made it look easy. 20 seconds after Edmonton took a 2-1 lead, ‘the Real Deal’ scored again, this time from outside the face off circle, beating him over his left shoulder with a seemingly harmless shot. The game-winner also came from distance and got past Brossoit over the same shoulder to complete the hat trick.
On the other end, Pekka Rinne performed brilliantly as Nashville suffered from numerous defensive breakdowns. Barrett Jackman also returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch of late. One has to think that coach Laviolette will rotate Granberg and Jackman over these last 12 games to see who he will play during the post-season.
Around the Central: More good news for Preds fans was that Chicago and St Louis both lost in big ways. Chicago got embarrassed at home on national TV at the hands of Los Angeles 5-0. Meanwhile, the Blues were in Calgary and fell 7-4 after rallying to cut a 3-goal lead down to one. The Preds now sit just five points behind Chicago for third place in the division.
What to Watch For Tonight: Minnesota plays yet another non-playoff team when they travel to Ottawa to face the Senators. After beating down Chicago, the Kings head to Dallas in a battle of division leaders.