New Jersey Devils: Taylor Hall Finally Puts Together MVP Performance

(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

After the worst road trip in recent franchise history, the New Jersey Devils really needed a win. Reigning MVP Taylor Hall was not letting them leave the Prudential Center without that win.

Taylor Hall has been very good this season, so don’t take this as a slight to his current performance. He came into tonight’s performance with 15 points in 15 games. That’s just fine if the New Jersey Devils can get the expected output from the rest of the team.

Unfortunately, up until this point, the only player really stepping up besides Hall is Kyle Palmieri, and possibly Travis Zajac and Brian Boyle. This is also with Hall’s goal numbers way down. Actually, his 5.8 shooting percentage coming into this game was one of the worst in the league among players with at least 50 shots. Only four players had a worse percentage.

The Devils placed Brian Boyle on injured reserve before the game, and we learned Nico Hischier was going to miss the first game of his NHL career. All of a sudden, the Devils were missing 19 points from their lineup. Hall needed to find whatever they had in him last year that dragged this Devils team to wins. He needed an MVP performance.

Hall has had good, if not great performances before this season. He had a three point night in a losing effort against the Colorado Avalanche. However, he had two secondary assists in that game. He also had two other multi-point nights, but did not score a goal in those.

Tuesday night was much different. This was a true MVP performance. Hall took the team on his back, and won.

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Hall started his night simple enough. All he did was throw a puck towards Casey DeSmith. He could not handle the puck, and Travis Zajac cleaned it up for his sixth goal of the season. That was good for a primary assist on the Devils goal 30 seconds into the game.

On the second goal, Hall found Damon Severson pinching, and sent him the puck for a one-timer goal.

The third goal was Hall’s best performance. For some reason, the Pittsburgh Penguins left Hall all alone, and put two people towards Zajac. A pass went to Hall’s stick, and he made a great move on DeSmith to put it five hole into the net.

That was the game-winning goal. Hall ended up making a nice move to add an empty-net goal, something the Devils had been struggling with. He put the dagger into a desperate Penguins team.

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This was the performance we’ve been waiting on Hall to have. Again, he’s been very good this season, but he hadn’t completely taken over a game yet. He always made his presence known, but he never put the entire team on his back. He did that Tuesday night. It was his first MVP performance of the season. It’s exactly what the Devils needed.