Published On: Thu, Mar 8th, 2018

'Everything is bouncing the right way': Taylor Hall talks about unreal point streak

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NEWARK, N.J. – Exactly how you count Taylor Hall‘s point streak is up to you. It can be 19 straight games heading into the New Jersey Devils‘ clash with the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night, or it can be 26 consecutive appearances, as the 26-year-old left-winger missed three games in late January with a right thumb injury.

Whichever way it’s added up, there’s no debate that Hall is in the middle of not only his greatest run of form, but his best season. With 15 games remaining, he has registered his first 30-goal season, set a new career best with 17 power-play assists, and is nine assists and six points away from matching his career highs set with the Edmonton Oilers in 2013-14. He also has 66 takeaways – 10 away from his most ever.

“It’s cool,” Hall said. “It seems like everything is bouncing the right way for me lately, especially on the power play. It’s great to chip in. It’s great to contribute. I’m out there to get points and score goals and play well that way. So, I just want to keep going, but at the end of the day, I just want to be on a team that gets to the playoffs and gets some more wins down the stretch.”

Hall’s season is more than the streak, because even before it began, it was his surging performance that was instrumental in lifting the Devils from doormats a year ago to playoff contenders. Over the past two months, though, he has been on another level, to the point where it’s impossible to take your eyes off of No. 9 in red.

“He’s been on a mission, and he’s been our best player all year,” said Devils center Travis Zajac. “He’s brought momentum through over these past 25, 26 games for us, and he’s grown as a player and a leader. It’s great to see.”

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

It’s hard to quantify leadership, but it does stand out that Hall’s 74 points are the most on the Devils – more than double everyone on the team other than his linemate, No. 1 draft pick Nico Hischier, who has 41. His leap from stardom to being among the game’s elite has come with not only the Swiss teenager on his line just about all season, but also 19-year-old winger Jesper Bratt.

Not that Hischier and Bratt aren’t talented – they’re top-line forwards on a team in playoff position – but rookies always have ups and downs. Hall staying steady, and even getting better as the season has gone on, doesn’t fully exemplify leadership, but it shows his commitment to taking on that role.

“I wouldn’t say there’s one thing that sparked him,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “I think that he’s a very motivated player. Probably, getting traded was a little bit of a wakeup call for him, and I think that in the environment he’s in now, he feels comfortable and he feels supported, whether that’s from the general manager, the ownership, the coaching staff. I think he sees the guys in the locker room, that the team is going in the right direction.

“Those things are all motivational for a player, and then you have a young guy – he’s only 26 – he’s learned a lot of lessons in the National Hockey League. He’s a guy that has superstar talent, but what you’re seeing now is it’s all the things surrounding his talent. It’s his attitude, it’s his leadership, it’s his work ethic, it’s his consistency, it’s his buy-in.

“Those are the reasons for the success that he’s having this year. It’s great to see, and that’s what it takes to be a superstar. You have to have the talent, but now you’re starting to see the maturity of all the things that allow great talent to be that.”

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