James Neal had a respectable 2015-16 season – his second as a Predator – with 58 points in 82 games. That's not a bad result by most players' standards, but it's certainly not what fantasy owners became used to seeing from him in Pittsburgh, where he skated with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (178 points in 179 games over three seasons). While recent history might cause most fantasy owners to assume Neal's days of point-per-game production are long gone, keep in mind that the sniper was on fire over the final quarter of last season, notching 21 points in the Preds' last 19 regular-season games. That had a lot to do with him finally finding chemistry with Ryan Johansen, who came to the Preds from Columbus via trade in January. If he and Johansen (likely accompanied by Filip Forsberg) can rekindle that magic in 2016-17, look out. The Preds should also get an offensive boost from the newly acquired P.K. Subban. Bottom line, he has plenty of upside this season, so don't be afraid to take a chance on him in the early rounds of your fantasy drafts.
Neal scored the game-tying goal and added an assist in Nashville's 4-3 triple overtime win on Thursday to even up the series at 2-2. Neal was Nashville's best forward, finishing with a game-high 38:59 among forwards. He tallied eight shots on goal and finished with another two hits and a plus-3 rating. The feisty Predators aren't going away, and so far the San Jose defense hasn't quite figured out how to keep Neal at bay. He's counted on to provide offense every night for Peter Laviolette's squad.
Neal had a goal and an assist in Monday's Game 6 win over the Ducks. Neal was credited with the game-winner for his tally in the final minutes of the second frame, and later provided the helper on an insurance goal in the dying seconds of the contest. The winger was held off the scoresheet entirely over the previous four games, but he'll likely need to be a factor if Nashville hopes to advance in Wednesday's Game 7.
Neal came to play in Game 1 against Anaheim Friday, opening the scoring and firing nine shots on goal in a 3-2 win. Neal was all over the ice, also dishing out five hits in 20:43 of ice time. The Predators might have a hard time getting past the Ducks, but they are off to a strong start and could pull off an upset. Neal scored four times in the first round last season and is currently riding a seven-game point streak dating back to the regular season.
Neal registered a power-play assist and three hits in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Stars. Neal continues to be a helper, earning an assist in his sixth straight game to close out the regular season. In that span, the 28-year-old put up a goal as well, totaling seven points. The winger has been impressive this year, scoring 31 times and registering 27 apples, while also earning a solid plus-27 rating. Neal and the Preds are as scary as they come heading into the postseason.
Neal assisted on the game-winning goal and added a plus-2 rating in Thursday's 3-2 overtime victory over Arizona. Neal has tied his longest point streak of the year at five games, scoring a goal and adding five helpers in that stretch. The 28-year-old hot play continues, and the winger will also finish the regular season with the best rating of his career, sitting at plus-28 with one game remaining.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
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