James Neal in the spotlight with 4 goals in Oilers' win
Edmonton forward already has 6 goals this season after scoring 7 in 2018-19
After a rough season in Calgary, James Neal has rediscovered his scoring touch with the Edmonton Oilers.
Neal has six goals this season, all in the last two games, after totalling seven in 63 games with the Flames a year ago.
"I've scored [goals] my whole career," said Neal, a perennial 20-goal scorer who joined the Oilers in an off-season trade that sent Milan Lucic to Calgary. "Last year was a tough year and I wanted a chance to prove myself. ... I came here and had people that believed in me and believed that I could bounce back."
WATCH | Neal lifts Oilers over Islanders:
Neal scored twice in the Oilers' 6-5 win over Los Angeles on Saturday night, and doubled that output against the Islanders.
"It's definitely pretty cool to have six goals in three games," he said. "It's a nice feeling."
Zack Kassian also scored as Edmonton won its first road game of the season and improved to 3-0 for the first time in 11 years. Connor McDavid had three assists, Leon Draisatl added two and Mikko Koskinen stopped 25 shots.
Anthony Beauvillier and Matt Martin scored for the Islanders. Semyon Varlamov started and was pulled in the second period after giving up four goals on 19 shots. Thomas Greiss came on and stopped seven of the eight shots he faced.
"I think we were looking for an easy game, and I'm disappointed with that because we knew it wasn't going to be," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "Too many turnovers, too soft on the battle and [we] took too many penalties."
James Neal is looking real comfy as an Edmonton Oiler<br><br>He picks up a natural hat trick, then adds one more goal late in the game to bring his total to 6 in just 3 games this season<br><br>Last year with the Flames, he scored 7 goals the entire season <a href="https://t.co/XeklLNNQhR">pic.twitter.com/XeklLNNQhR</a>—@hockeynight
"It's the best game we've played so far," Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. "More towards the team game we're looking for. We worked hard, managed the puck pretty well most of the time. Discipline was pretty good, power play was pretty good."
With the Islanders trailing 2-1 after 20 minutes, Beauvillier nearly tied it three minutes into the middle period, but his shot was stopped by Koskinen.
🚨🚨🚨🚨 = 😃😃😃😃 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LetsGoOilers?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LetsGoOilers</a> <a href="https://t.co/LGnzHNdLrx">pic.twitter.com/LGnzHNdLrx</a>—@EdmontonOilers
Beauvillier was sent to the penalty box for cross-checking Darnell Nurse after Nurse had a hard hit on Leo Komarov, and the Oilers took advantage with their second power-play goal of the night. Neal completed his seventh career hat trick as he tipped in a pass from Draisaitl from the left side for his fifth of the season at 6:31 for a two-goal lead.
Edmonton pushed the lead to 4-1 just 2:15 later as Kassian tipped a pass by Draisaitl past Varlamov for his third of the season, ending Varlamov's night.
New York stepped up the pressure with some of its best chances of the game, but Koskinen stopped a slap shot by Ryan Pulock with 7:17 left in the period. A minute later, he turned away attempts by Adam Pelech, Pulock and Jordan Eberle 17 seconds apart.
Neal finished off his big night at 6:51 of the third for his sixth of the season to make it 5-1.
"You know he's capable of scoring, but I don't think anybody envisioned getting off to a start like this," Tippett said. "He put the work in. It's good to see he's getting rewarded."