Neal scores only goal in 6-round shootout, lifts Predators over Kings 4-3

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee — James Neal had to be patient while waiting for his name to be called in the shootout. Then he made his opportunity count.

Neal scored the only goal of the six-round tiebreaker to give the Nashville Predators a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.

Craig Smith, Ryan Ellis and Eric Nystrom scored in regulation for Nashville, winners of four of five. In the shootout, Neal beat Martin Jones with a wrist shot between the pads.

"You just see what the goalie is doing and what the guys are doing with their first few shooters, what their moves are," Neal said. "I think a lot of guys have a couple moves that they like to go to. For me, I go in and I think I know what I am going to do before I shoot."

Entering Tuesday, Jones was 12 for 12 in the shootout in his career. Los Angeles shooters are 2-14 in shootouts this season.

"It was a hard-fought point," Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said. "We've got to start scoring some shootout goals. It cost us on the road."

Pekka Rinne made 18 saves in regulation and overtime, and then denied all six Kings shooters in the tiebreaker.

"Not my strongest game, but we got the win eventually and that's all that matters," Rinne said. "You try to give your team a chance to win in the shootout."

Nashville's last two victories have come in shootouts.

"We knew it was going to be difficult to generate scoring chances, but yet I felt like we were able to do that pretty consistently," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "They got opportunities, and when they did, they certainly made the most of them."

Jamie McBain, Marian Gaborik, and Drew Doughty scored for Los Angeles, which has lost two straight.

Trailing by a goal late in the second, Nashville took the lead after Ellis and Nystrom scored 52 seconds apart.

Ellis scored at 17:36 on a one-timer from above the right circle. Nystrom followed at 18:28 when he tipped Taylor Beck's spinning shot from the right dot past Jones.

Doughty converted after an end-to-end rush at 38 seconds of the third to tie it 3-3.

"They were playing a 1-1-3 in their neutral zone, which gives you a lot of room to skate," Doughty said. "I saw it through the first two periods, that if I had a good opportunity and some speed, I could probably get through the neutral zone and get to the offensive zone and make a play from there."

Smith gave Nashville a 1-0 lead at 6:24 of the first period.

In the neutral zone, Colin Wilson found Smith in full stride on the right side. On the break, Smith moved toward the low slot, where he beat Jones between the pads with a quick wrist shot.

The Kings tied it at 11:32 of the first after Justin Williams' shot from the slot hit McBain's skate and beat the outstretched left pad of Rinne.

Gaborik gave the Kings a 2-1 lead at 1:01 of the second.

From inside his blue line, Jeff Carter lifted a pass into the Nashville zone. Gaborik outraced Ellis to the puck and beat Rinne.

NOTES: Nashville D Shea Weber recorded his 223rd career assist. He is the franchise leader among defensemen. ... Gaborik has 29 points in 30 career games against Nashville. ... The Predators were 0-4 on the power play, falling to 1-32 at home this season. Nashville is 3-1 in shootouts this season.

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