NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Overtime hasn't always been the right time for the Nashville Predators.
Neal's wrister from the high slot at 2:11 pushed Nashville to a 5-4 victory over the desperate Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena.
With Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien in the penalty box for hooking Ryan Johansen at 1:37, Neal took a pass from Roman Josi, walked between the faceoff circles and beat Conner Hellebuyck with a wrister for his 20th goal of the season.
It was just the Predators' fifth win in 16 overtime games this season, and one that pushed their record to 34-24-11, giving them a four-point lead on St. Louis for third place in the Central Division.
"We haven't won many overtime games," Neal said. "Joey made a great play to draw a penalty, and it was a big win."
One that Neal admitted himself was saved by Rinne (26-16-8), who made the last of his 30 stops less than a minute before the skate-off marker. Patrik Laine, whose 33rd goal early in the second period enabled the Jets to tie the game at 3, got a chance to win the game on a breakaway.
But Rinne denied Laine at the doorstep, and that led to a Grade A chance for Johansen that Hellebuyck turned away. However, Byfuglien took his minor moments later and Neal made no mistake.
"Josi made a real nice pass and Neal made a nice play to walk to the center of the ice," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said.
The result was a killer for Winnipeg (30-33-7), which is eight points behind St. Louis for the Western Conference's second wild-card spot with only 12 games left. The Jets' remaining opponents have a winning percentage of .607, the toughest remaining schedule in the NHL.
"We've gone up, we've gone down, it's been a rollercoaster all year," Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler said. "The good news is this one of the tougher buildings to come in and get a win, and I thought our team came out with some resiliency, a lot of fight, and gave ourselves a chance to win."
In fact, the Jets appeared to go up 5-3 at 13:01 of the second period when Mathieu Perreault poked home the rebound of a point shot by Paul Postma. But Laviolette, acting upon advice from the team's video staff, asked for a review on the basis of offsides.
Replays detected the puck leaving the offensive zone with two Winnipeg players across the blue line, and the goal was overturned.
"Our video guys are great," Laviolette said. "We've got TVs, but we also have them in our ear. They have to get the information to us quick, and they do an excellent job."
Perhaps invigorated by the reversal, the Predators equalized when Johansen scored his 12th goal on a wrister that struck Hellebuyck and barely cleared the goal line at 4:23 of the third period. Johansen, who also assisted on Filip Forsberg's 28th goal 19 seconds into the second period, has six goals and seven helpers in his last six outings against the Jets.
Wheeler and Byfuglien tallied in the first 12:11 to give Winnipeg a 2-0 lead, but Austin Watson scored his first goal in 26 games at 12:34 to get Nashville on the board. The Jets asked for a review on the basis of offsides, but the goal was quickly upheld.
After Forsberg and Laine swapped markers, Joel Armia gave the Jets a 4-3 edge at 8:39 of the second with his eighth goal.
However, an alert video crew, Johansen's recent magic against the Jets and then some rare success in overtime gave Nashville two points it greatly desired.
"It wasn't our best game," Josi said. "Our defense made a lot of mistakes and Peks kept us in the game. We found a way somehow."
Hellebuyck (22-18-4) saved 37 of 42 shots.
-- Winnipeg D Jacob Trouba (upper-body injury) missed Monday night's game after being hurt in a fight with Calgary's Sam Bennett Saturday night.
-- Nashville recalled RW Miikka Salomaki from AHL Milwaukee Sunday. Salomaki was injured on Oct. 15 in Chicago, then suffered a second injury during a conditioning assignment in Milwaukee. He remains on IR.
-- The Jets scratched G Ondrej Pavalec, LW Nic Petan and D Toby Enstrom.
-- Nashville scratches were D Brad Hunt, LW Harry Zolnierczyk, D Matt Irwin, LW Kevin Fiala and C Vernon Fiddler.