Hall’s scoring streak helping Devils push for playoff spot

Taylor Hall celebrates a goal.Taylor Hall has a chance to experience something with the New Jersey Devils that he never could reach with the Edmonton Oilers: a playoff berth. Hall has at least a point in each of his last 26 games and the Devils are in control of their own fate in the wild card race as the season nears its conclusion one year after New Jersey tumbled to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

Hall’s first season with the Devils was much more tentative, with relatively low totals of 20 goals and 53 points, and New Jersey followed suit with the conference’s worst offense. But Hall has finally transformed into the offensive spark people saw when he was drafted first overall in 2010, already topping last season’s totals by 10 goals and 21 points in 10 fewer contests. He has recorded 38 of his points during his franchise-record scoring streak, which extends all the way to the beginning of the year and includes a five-game stretch where he was out with a thumb injury.

New Jersey’s offense lives and dies with Hall, who leads the team by 33 points. The next closest Devils scorer is Nico Hischier, who is in the midst of a solid rookie campaign after being selected first overall at the 2017 draft. Kyle Palmieri is second on the team in goals with 17 as New Jersey relies on balanced scoring throughout its lineup outside of Hall, with nine different players recording at least 10 goals. Hall’s standout contribution has earned him a place in the Hart Trophy conversation for regular season MVP, a case which is certainly bolstered by his scoring streak during this crucial portion of the season.

Hall contributed two assists in New Jersey’s 6-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, inching the Devils ever closer to the postseason. Hall’s old team in Edmonton finally reached the postseason last year after trading him, but the Oilers haven’t done so well this season, and their middling team goals total suggests they could use some of Hall’s offense, which they gave up to acquire defensive defenseman Adam Larsson. If Hall takes home any awards for his career season in New Jersey, it will be salt in the wounds of suddenly bitter Oilers fans who assumed their team would be a perennial contender with Connor McDavid while Hall toiled away in the relative obscurity of New Jersey.