New Jersey Devils Win Highlighted By Taylor Hall’s Big Night

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 21: New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) celebrates after scoring his second goal during the second period of the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils and the Ottawa Senators on December 21, 2018 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 21: New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) celebrates after scoring his second goal during the second period of the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils and the Ottawa Senators on December 21, 2018 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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MVP! MVP! MVP! Is something that was chanted with great regularity last season, especially in the second half of the season. It has been more of the same this season from the New Jersey Devils reigning Hart Trophy winner, Taylor Hall.

There have been some things said along the lines of Hall not having as good of a season so far this year, and that is simply not true if you just sit back and watch. The goal scoring is on a bit below pace from last year, but that’s because his buddies Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri have chipped in some serious goal scoring as well, and Hall has been racking up the assists.

Last season, Hall had 93 points and lead the New Jersey Devils in scoring by 51 (!) points. That earned him the Hart Trophy as the Most Valuable Player to his team in the National Hockey League. So far this season, he is leading the Devils with 37 points, and he has played in 32 games. This is on pace for 92 points if he were to play every remaining game on the New Jersey Devils schedule, which is one less point than he earned last season.

All of these things are coming out because Taylor had a four point night on Friday when the Devils cruised past the Ottawa Senators 5-2. He scored two goals in 1:12 of play and chipped in another two assists. He’s been heating up and that is not good news for opposing goalies. If the Devils do not make a comeback in the standings it will be because of lack of scoring depth, defense and goaltending, not because of Hall or his linemates.

Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist as Kyle Palmieri also had a goal and chipped in two assists for three points. The top line seemingly dominated the entire game and ended up with nine points between the trio. All three of them can shoot, and all three of them can make plays. When they are going good, so is the team. Of the five New Jersey Devils goals, this line is responsible for four.

Taylor Hall’s first goal of the night was on the power play, which oddly enough is his first power play goal of the season. This is a bit surprising because he is one of the best power play forwards in the NHL, but not as surprising when you think about all the times he set up his teammates instead of shooting it himself with the man advantage.

If he starts scoring goals at the clip he did last year, and keep up the assists pace from this year, 100 points isn’t out of the realm of possibility. New Jersey has never had a player reach the 100 point plateau.

If Taylor Hall has as many or more points than last year, will he win the Hart Trophy again? Unlikely, and here is why. The Devils chances of making it to the post season are slim, which voters seem to use against guys in the conversation for MVP.

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If the team makes a comeback and gets in on the back of Hall, then he will certainly get votes and could win, but the team may not be good enough around him, even if he does keep his current scoring pace.

Another reason he is unlikely to win it is one of the main reasons he did win it last season, the difference between him and the teams second (and third) leading scorers. Kyle Palmieri is on pace for 79 points and Nico Hischier is on pace for 59 as a teenager again, which is significant growth from last year for both. Hall will likely not have as big of a gap between himself and any of his teammates this time around. This is a good thing in the end, because others contributing is very important.

Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri are perfect players for Taylor Hall to play with. Nico is very much proving his worth of a number-one-overall pick, as he is so good defensively and a very good playmaker. He also has an underrated shot which is why he needs to shoot even more. It was nice to see him get one from a sharp angle on Friday night, because it shows him that getting the puck on net is important. And for Kyle, there isn’t a better pure goal scorer on the team that can also make plays. He can rifle the puck and when Hall and Hischier create space for him, look out.

Taylor Hall is the face of the franchise, and with fellow stars potentially on his line for years to come, it is very hopeful that he sees how good of a fit he is in New Jersey, and commits to a long term contract once he is eligible on July 1st, 2019.

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Hall, Hischier, Palmieri and the Devils are back in action on Sunday night, when the Columbus Blue Jackets make their much anticipated first visit to the Prudential Center. The Devils will rock their red, white and green heritage jerseys for this first time this season for that one. It will be the last game before the NHL goes on holiday break.