Taylor Hall was acquired by the New Jersey Devils last summer in order to add a scoring punch to the team’s lineup. The former 80-point scorer has assisted a bit, helping up the Devils’ league ranking in average goals per game from last in 2015-16 to 28th this season.
The sniper scored his 20th goal last Thursday night, which was his fifth season netting 20-or-more goals. It came on the power play in the middle of the second period, cutting the Pittsburgh Penguins’ lead to one goal.
Teammate Travis Zajac cleanly won the faceoff in the offensive zone to the point, where Andy Greene waited for Hall to get in shooting position. As Hall made his move toward a prime shooting area, Greene slid the puck to Hall, who cradled and angled his body to the net. He made no mistake, using Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel as a screen and waiting for teammate Miles Wood to converge on netminder Matt Murray. With all the congestion in front, the puck found its way through after a blistering snap from Hall reminded defenders how hard and accurate the former Oilers draft pick can shoot.
The Penguins went on to score a handful of goals after Hall’s tally, defeating the Devils 7-4 in the process. Although the Devils are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in for the fifth consecutive season, the future is bright with the 24-year-old Hall leading the offense, Cory Schneider manning the pipes and a slew of defensive prospects ready for heavy minutes in the NHL.
Meanwhile, the defending-Stanley Cup champion Penguins are battling the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2017 playoffs and have qualified for postseason play in each of the past 11 seasons.
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