March 15, 2016 12:00 am

Oilers lose 3-2 to Predators; Neal gets hat trick

Nashville Predators celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during first period NHL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Monday March 14, 2016.


EDMONTON – James Neal recorded a hat trick as the Nashville Predators snapped a two-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.

The Predators (35-22-13) have earned points in 15 of their last 16 games.

Jordan Eberle and Iiro Pakarinen replied for the Oilers (27-38-7), who have lost two straight.

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Edmonton started the scoring seven minutes into the contest as Connor McDavid picked off a pass at the blue line and sent it in front to Eberle for the tap-in past Nashville starter Pekka Rinne. The Oilers had failed to score in their previous two home games.

Just over a minute later, however, the Predators responded as Neal came in on a breakaway and calmly sent his 24th goal of the season through the legs of Edmonton goalie Laurent Brossoit.

Edmonton regained the lead just 31 seconds into the middle period as Leon Draisaitl sent a backhand pass from behind the net to set up a Pakarinen goal. But just 20 seconds later it was knotted up again as Neal used a screen to score his second of the game.

Nashville made it 3-2 four minutes into the third period, as Neal beat Brossoit cleanly on a wrist shot to record his sixth career hat trick.

Edmonton had some chances in a late flurry with Brossoit pulled, but Nashville was able to keep the Oilers from sending the game to extra time.

The Oilers remain at home to face the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, while the Predators next host the New York Islanders on Thursday.

Notes: It was the third and final meeting between the two teams this season, with the Preds also winning the previous two encounters… Brossoit made his fourth career NHL start… Out with injuries for the Predators were Gabriel Bourque (upper body), Paul Gaustad (upper body) and Eric Nystrom (broken foot)… Missing from the Oilers lineup were Oscar Klefbom (foot), Andrew Ference (hip), Brandon Davidson (knee), Benoit Pouliot (shoulder), Eric Gryba (knee), Adam Pardy (undisclosed) and Darnell Nurse, who served the final game of a three-game suspension.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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