Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Hall Extends Streak; Devils Close in on Pens

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Hall Extends Streak; Devils Close in on Pens

Article excerpt

PITTSBURGH – Ray Shero may never make as good a trade as when he acquired Taylor Hall from the Oilers for defenseman Adam Larsson prior to last season.

That's not a knock on any of the other deals Shero has made as the Devils' general manager, such as the two recent ones he made before Monday's NHL trade deadline. It's just an acknowledgement of how well Hall is playing.

"He's a different beast right now," said Stefan Noesen, who tipped in Andy Greene's feed to snap a third-period tie and score the decisive goal at 5:01 in the Devils' 3-2 win over the Penguins on Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena to open a three-game road trip.

Hall had a goal and an assist to extend his NHL-best point streak to 15 games, tying the Devils' all-time mark first set by Patrick Elias in 1999-2000 and matched by Brian Gionta in 2005-06, while matching his career high with his 27th goal.

The Hart Trophy candidate also has 15 goals and 17 assists total as he's had at least a point in his last 22 games – the NHL not considering it a continuous streak because he missed three games with an injured right thumb prior to the All-Star break.

"The first period, I probably touched the puck five, six times and I get an assist in the neutral zone," Hall said. "It's the way it's going. You score points in 22 straight games, there's got to be some luck involved and things going your way."

The Devils (33-22-8) won their second straight as their power play went 1 for 1 and they killed off the Penguins' two man advantages, a key factor considering they have the NHL's top-ranked power play.

The Devils moved within two points of the third-place Penguins (36-24-4), who had their 11-game home streak snapped, in the Metropolitan Division and now have a five-point cushion as they hold the Eastern Conference's first wild-card spot.

Keith Kinkaid, starting for the 12th time in 15 games and matching his career high with his 26th appearance, stopped 36 shots while Casey DeSmith, recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) after Matt Murray suffered a concussion during Monday's practice, stopped 35 shots. …

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