OTTAWA — James Neal scored twice in regulation and the shootout winner as the Nashville Predators defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-3 Saturday night.
Neal had two power-play goals, while Craig Smith also scored for Nashville (4-1-0). Carter Hutton, making his first start of the year, stopped 38 shots.
Mike Hoffman had a pair of goals for the Senators (3-2-1), while Mark Stone picked up the other. Craig Anderson made 22 saves.
For the first time this season the Senators were not outshot by the opposition.
With the game tied 2-2 midway through the third period, Neal scored his second power-play goal of the game in the exact same manner he scored his first in the opening period, beating Anderson short side on a wrap-around attempt to give Nashville a 3-2 lead.
With time winding down Hoffman scored his second of the night, tying things back up 3-3 with a shot from the blue line.
The Senators had played a great second until a weak clearing attempt by Patrick Wiercioch allowed the Predators to tie the game 2-2 with just over two minutes remaining in the period.
Nashville's Mike Ribeiro was able to keep the puck in at the blue line and fed Smith for his third of the season.
Ottawa had taken the lead at the 12-minute mark of the second as Hoffman fired a shot from just inside the blue line. Hutton was helpless as the puck deflected off Ryan Ellis' stick.
Stone tied the game 1-1 to the delight of the 16,895 on hand at Canadian Tire Centre 15 seconds into the second period as he took a great pass from Kyle Turris and then went forehand to backhand to beat Hutton.
Both teams had a slow start with neither creating any great chances in the opening minutes of the game.
The Predators opened the scoring midway through the period when Neal beat Anderson.
Notes: D Marc Methot missed the game due to the flu, allowing Chris Wideman to make his NHL debut. LW Clarke MacArthur missed his second straight game due to an upper-body injury.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press