Do not forget that the New Jersey Devils barely made the playoffs in 2017-18. The Devils did not clinch until Game #81 was won. Even then the Devils finished just a point ahead of Florida in the standings. This meant that every regular season game mattered for the New Jersey Devils and this was especially true in March. Their spot in the playoffs was far from secure and every slip up hurt. Every win would not always come with the help needed to make the win help the Devils’ cause as much as possible. This meant that everyone had to contribute to make victories happen - and that required Taylor Hall to keep producing.
That could not last forever; even though it felt like it at the start of March. Alas, this was the month where Hall’s incredible 26-game point streak would come to an end. March 8 against Winnipeg saw it end in Newark. But the pointlessness was a brief setback. After going pointless on March 10 in Nashville and March 17 in Los Angeles (he picked up two in the Vegas win on March 14), Hall came roaring back to finish the month with seven straight games with a point to finish March. The monthly totals were astounding: nine goals and eleven assists for twenty points. Hall did do everything he could to get this team to the playoffs. It would pay off.
Now that the season is over, let us look back at Hall’s most productive month of the 2017-18 campaign. As usual, we will look at the goals first.
The March Goals of Taylor Hall
Game #59 - March 1 - at Florida - 0:50 into 2nd - Assisted by Maroon, Vatanen - NHL.com Video Link
We begin with an own goal. Early in the second period, the Devils were on a power play. From the right point (the goalie’s right), Sami Vatanen sent the puck down the boards towards the then-newest Devil, Patrick Maroon. Maroon sent the puck around to the left corner to Hall. Under some pressure, Hall skated up the boards. Above the circle and still by the boards, he turned and fired a quick wrist shot. Aaron Ekblad was in the right place and the right time to deflect the harmless-looking shot up and past Roberto Luongo’s left side. Fortunate? Yes. Fluke? Sure, it’s an own goal. Did it count? You bet. (Were the assists legit? Yes. They were intentional plays.) At the time, Hall’s PPG tied up the game in what would be a tough 2-3 loss at Florida.
Game #60 - March 2 - at Carolina - 19:27 into 2nd - Assisted by Palmieri, Vatanen - NHL.com Video Link
Hall’s second goal of the month was not an own goal, but it was a deflection. The play began with Hall gaining the zone off a pass. He lost the puck thanks to the Canes’ defense, but it went loose and headed towards the right side of the zone. Palmieri won a race to the loose puck and pitchforked it around the boards to the other side. Travis Zajac almost intercepted it, but thankfully the puck went along the boards to the left sideboards. Just above the circle, Vatanen skated in and fired a shot right off the loose puck. Hall was just inside the left circle and re-directed the puck low and past Cam Ward’s left pad. The Devils converted the power play and tied up the game late in the second period (NJ lost this 1-3, by the way). This was not a fluke because Hall tipped it and made a move with his stick to do so. That showed intent and it paid off. The pass by Palmieri was intentional - and good thing Zajac did not get in the way of it - and Vatanen took the shot Hall tipped in. Fun fact: This was Hall’s first deflection goal of the season. It was his 29th of the season too.
Game #61 - March 4 - vs. Las Vegas - 17:55 into 2nd - Unassisted - NHL.com Video Link
Shortly after Vegas went up 1-3, Hall hit back with a goal. This play began with Severson firing a pass to Kyle Palmieri in the neutral zone. The pass got away from Palmieri, who was covered by Braden McNabb, and the puck drifted towards the left corner. Hall, Palmieri, and Nico Hischier still went into the zone with Hall coming down the left side. Colin Miller reached the puck first and attempted to clear the puck around from the left corner. The key word is attempted. Miller whiffed on the puck twice. He lost control of the puck, took a hit from Palmieri behind the net, and Hall swooped in to take the loose puck behind the net. Hall wrapped around the left post in front of McNabb (he was too late) and slid the puck through Marc-Andre Fleury’s legs for a goal. This put the Devils down 2-3 with over a period left to play. Unfortunately, the Devils could not tie it up. Fortunately, this goal was pretty sweet. I also appreciate the scorer not giving assists to Severson or Palmieri. While they had their role, Hall taking a loose puck and scoring on a wraparound was entirely his doing. By the way, this was Hall’s 30th goal of the season.
Game #65 - March 14 - at Las Vegas - 14:31 into 3rd - Assist: Boyle - NHL.com Video Link
The 26-game point-streak died on March 8, 2018. But Hall would get back to scoring ways on this night with one goal and one assist. The goal was the exclamation point on a runaway 8-3 win in Vegas, which was/is a difficult place for road teams. The goal started with Cody Eakin losing the puck in the neutral zone and Brian Boyle hitting it forward. The puck popped up, dropped into the center circle, and Hall picked it up while turning towards the left side of the ice. Hall carried the puck into the zone. He tried a shot but McNabb blocked the puck away with his stick. The puck slid towards the slot and this is where things got fortunately weird. The puck bounced off Boyle’s skate and then Derek Engelland’s skate and remained flat on the ice by the left post. Meanwhile, Hall went around McNabb and was able to take the loose puck and put it in off Maxime Legace’s glove and into the net before Hall went past the goal line. What made this more fortunate was that Boyle, Engelland, and Hall were all in motion as this happened. Boyle’s assist, whether it was that bounce in the neutral zone or the puck bouncing off his skate, was not legit. The shot sure was; Hall took an opportunity and finished it to make it 8-2 at the time. The Devils won 8-3.
Game #68 - March 20 - at San Jose - 11:19 into 1st - Assist: Stafford - NHL.com Video Link
For some reason, there is not a separate clip for this goal. Anyway, this was one of the few good things in a night where the Devils got wrecked by San Jose. Anyway, after Thomas Hertl missed on a puck going across the top of the crease, Drew Stafford skated to the right corner to get the puck. Stafford immediately launched the puck out of the zone and into the neutral zone. As the puck traveled, Hall headed up the middle of the ice. The puck bounces into some space in the neutral zone. Hall tried to chase it down and had a small step on Marc-Eduoard Vlasic, who tried to engage him. However, Justin Braun was in a better position and was first to it. Sensing pressure from Hall, Braun tried to knock it away through his legs with a backhander. It did not work, Braun touched but mostly overskated the puck, and Hall took off with it on a mini-breakaway. Above the right hashmarks, Hall fired a laser that beat Martin Jones clean to the top corner to Jones’ left. Giving Stafford an assist here seems cheap since Braun did get to the puck first and Braun’s error created the play. Hall’s shot was fantastic; shame that it happened on a night to forget for New Jersey. It then tied up the game 1-1, but the Devils went on to lose 2-6. (This would be the first goal in the second game of Hall’s seven-game point streak that ended this month, by the by.)
Game #69 - March 23 - at Pittsburgh - 0:27 into OT - Assist: Hischier - NHL.com Video Link
Now this a goal on a night to remember. The Devils went into overtime against a Pittsburgh team that wanted a point to prove against a Devils team who seemingly had their number this season. I loved this play after it happened that night. I love it now. I’m going to quote myself from the recap in describing Nico Hischier and one of the greatest assists of the whole season by any Devil (yeah, it was legit):
Hischier crashed in from the [New Jersey] blueline - and past Phil Kessel - to keep the puck from going out, and Hischier ended up alone with the puck. Kessel was right on him and the puck was in Hischier’s skates. Kris Letang was coming to support while Evgeni Malkin was at the blueline to deny and passes or clearances up the boards. Hischier boxed out Kessel like a basketball player in the post as he searched for the puck. When he could, Hischier kicked the puck up to his stick. With Letang coming at him, he saw Hall and fired a perfect pass to him in the neutral zone.
That pass to Hall really was perfect. Hall was all alone with Murray from the Pittsburgh blueline all the way to the slot. Hall tucked in a low wrist shot that got through Murray for the game winner. It is going to have to take something special for another goal in this month to be my Arbitrarily Decided Goal of the Month.
Game #72 - March 29 - vs. Pittsburgh - 14:41 into 2nd - Assist: Butcher - NHL.com Video Link
The Devils made a zone entry on a power play with a dump-in. I probably sighed loudly at this. But it worked out. Olli Maatta recovered the dump in. With Zajac coming from behind and Maroon coming at him, he made a little pass forward to Josh Jooris. Jooris attempted to clear the puck. The clearance was stopped by Will Butcher’s skates. The puck stayed in the zone and Butcher recovered the puck on his stick. Butcher made a simple, direct pass to Hall, who was above the left circle - and all alone. Hall took the puck down into the circle and fired an inch-perfect wrist shot off the post to Murray’s right and into the net. This goal was just outside of the scoring zone range; it was a wonderful shot all the same. Butcher’s assist was legit, but that shot was beautiful to see. Not that Murray saw it as he had Maroon all up in his business. The PPG goal tied up the game at two each in what would end in a 3-4 OT loss (stupid Crosby and his ability to bat in pucks in mid-air).
Game #73 - March 31 - vs. NY Islanders - 0:41 into 2nd - Assist: Butcher, Palmieri - NHL.com Video Link
Hall’s March ended with two goals against the Isles. The first one was a power play goal that broke a 1-1 deadlock early in the second period. It was a lucky break for Hall. Palmieri took a loose puck off a shot and moved it to the right point. With pressure coming, Butcher passed it up the boards to Hall. Hall skated to be just inside the left circle and fired what I believe was a pass to the middle. He saw Zajac with inside position on Anthony Pelech. However, the pass went too much to the left of Zajac - but not too wide from Pelech. The puck caromed off Pelech’s right skate, bounced off the end of Thomas Greiss’ left pad, and fell into the net by the left post for the PPG. Another fluke? Yes. It was an own goal. Even NHL.com’s description of this goal called it “fortunate.” Were the assists legit? I think so. Did it count? Of course.
Game #73 - March 31 - vs. NY Islanders - 9:08 into 2nd - Assist: Noesen - NHL.com Video Link
This goal was anything but a fluke. It started in New Jersey’s end of the rink. Before taking a hit from Matthew Barzal, Stefan Noesen took a loose puck from the left sideboards and made a simple, backhand pass to Hall in the Devils’ slot. Hall skated forward, turned a bit to shake off Anders Lee at New Jersey’s blue line, got ahead of Lee in the neutral zone (Lee still chased him), took on both Islanders defenders as he gained the zone, skated to his left to find a lane (Hall chose you, Johnny Boychuck, to make famous), and fired a perfect wrist shot over Greiss’ glove to the top corner. You read that right: Hall took on three Islanders going forward and still beat Greiss with a laser of a wrist shot with pressure around Hall. The assist was legit but this is Hall on a play that stated, once again, that he is a superstar and superstars make superstar plays like this one.
Oh, it put the Devils up 3-1 in a game that the Devils won 4-3. The regulation win gave them the inside edge on a playoff spot at the time. What a way to end March. (It would be Hall’s twentieth and final point of the month.)
An Arbitrarily Decided Goal of the Month: What could beat a game-winning breakaway goal in Pittsburgh? I just described it! The second goal against the Islanders on March 31! Whereas the OT winner in Pittsburgh featured Hischier flexing on the Pens’ best, this goal included Hall beating Lee, Pelech, Boychuk, and Greiss in a forward motion where he never lost the puck or control of the situation. There are many words and phrases that are appropriate to describe this play: magisterial, magical, amazing, astounding, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, golazo, scintillating, dominating, masterful, and - my personal favorite - glorious. Now watch this again:
The March Assists of Taylor Hall
Before moving onto the assists, this is a reminder that when I’m looking for a legitimate assist, I’m looking for something that directly created a goal. Usually, this is a pass but I can accept shots that were re-directed or tipped by someone else or most rebounds provided the goalie could not recover, it created an opportunity, and it wasn’t something odd like an odd bounce off a crossbar.
Game #61 - March 4 - vs. Vegas - 8:44 into 2nd - Power Play Primary Assist - Secondary Assist: Maroon, Goal: Vatanen - NHL.com Video Link
Hall did not register an assist in the first two games in March. He would get back at it against Vegas. Maroon and Zajac battled with Knights for the puck in the left corner. Maroon won the puck and passed it to Hall, who was by the left dot. Hall sent a direct pass to Vatanen at the top of the right circle. Vatanen hammered the pass with a slap shot one-timer that beat Fleury glove side (his left). The PPG was created by good work from Maroon in the corner, a good pass by Hall for Vatanen to shoot directly from, and Vatanen’s slap shot being true. Legitimate points all the way around on this play. This power play conversion tied up the game at the time in what would end in a 2-3 loss.
Game #62 - March 6 - vs. Montreal - 19:48 into 1st - Power Play Primary Assist - Secondary Assist: Vatanen, Goal: Zajac - NHL.com Video Link
This was the night where the Devils beat down on the Canadiens. Hall set up the fourth goal of the first period for the Devils. New Jersey received a four-minute power play. It would take seconds for the goal to come. The Devils won the offensive zone faceoff and Maroon got the puck out of traffic to Vatanen at the right point. Vatanen sent a pass across to Hall, who was above the left circle. Hall showed he would one-time it but he did not. After settling the puck, Hall fired a wrist shot through the legs of Karl Alzner (who backed off after Hall took the pass) and past a moving screen by Maroon. Charlies Lindgren stopped the shot with his pads. The rebound came out through Noah Juulsen’s legs (and he was facing the goalie), Zajac picked up the puck in the slot, and as he skated into the left circle, he fired a shot between the defenders and past Lindgren just inside the right post. It helped that the puck was on edge; but Zajac finished it for his second PPG of the night. Anyway, Hall’s shot created a rebound goal for Zajac. While Lindgren had some time to recover, the rebound put him (and his defenders) in a bad spot. Zajac made them pay. As for Hall (and Vatanen), the assists were real.
Game #62 - March 6 - vs. Montreal - 11:36 into 2nd - Power Play Primary Assist - Secondary Assist: Palmieri, Goal: Maroon - NHL.com Video Link
Patrick Maroon earned his first goal as a New Jersey Devil on this play. It started with an offensive zone faceoff in the final seconds of a 4-on-3 situation. Hall won the draw and send the puck back to Vatanen. After winding up for a slapshot, Vatanen thought better of it with a defender’s stick right by the puck. He passed it to his left to Palmieri. Palmieri stayed atop the right circle and saw that there was a lane to Hall, who was open in the left circle. Palmieri sent a pass across and Hall fired a one-timer. The shot was tipped by the heel of Alzner’s stick blade, but the puck still went towards the crease - wobbling but still low to the ice. Maroon was alone at the crease and re-directed the puck past Lindgren’s right flank. The goal restored a four-goal lead in addition to converting a power play. While Alzner got a piece of it, Hall did create the goal for Maroon as he was trying to get the puck to the net with his one-timer. Palmieri’s secondary assist was a good, clean pass across the zone; another example of how well they work - when that passing lane is there.
Alas, this assist would be the twentieth and final assist of Hall’s 26-game point streak in 2018. Hall put up eighteen goals and twenty assists in those 26 games. Hall would be pointless for the next two games. He would return to the scoring sheet with an assist in that rout in Vegas on March 14.
Game #65 - March 15 - at Vegas - 10:21 into 3rd - Power Play Secondary Assist - Primary Assist: Maroon, Goal: Palmieri - NHL.com Video Link
Hall’s return to the scoresheet was a secondary assist on a power play goal that made it 7-2 against Vegas. The goal was a result of some patience and possession. Zajac won an offensive zone draw and the puck came back to Vatanen at the left point. Vatanen skated with the puck towards the center point. With no shooting lane or passing lane to his left, Vatanen made a pass to Hall, who was on the outside of the left circle. After possessing the puck in that area for about five seconds, Hall moved towards the left dot. The Vegas PK moved toward him, which opened up a passing lane to Maroon. Maroon was camped out on the goal line, left to the goal. Maroon took the pass, turned, and immediately fired a pass out to Palmieri, who was at the bottom of the right circle. Palmieri collected the pass and quickly fired a wrist shot into the top of the net for the PPG. This secondary assist by Hall was legitimate. As was Maroon’s primary assist and Palmieri’s goal. The whole play was great.
Game #67 - March 18 - at Anaheim - 10:31 into 2nd - Power Play Secondary Assist - Primary Assist: Zajac, Goal: Palmieri - NHL.com Video Link
While the night did go well for New Jersey, this PPG put the Devils on the board. It also was the first of what would be seven-straight games of at least one point by Hall to close out March. The play began with Zajac sending a puck back to Vatanen at the center point. Vatanen passed the puck to his left to Palmieri, who took a one-timer. He missed the net. Hall collected the loose puck at the left sideboards. Hall turned and skated towards the left dot. Outside of the hashmarks and before a Duck stick-checked him, Hall attempted a cross-ice pass to an open Palmieri in the right circle. The pass hit Zajac in the left skate, but Zajac recovered the puck and continued the play. Zajac sent a pass past Francois Beauchemin and across to Palmieri, who is below the right dot. Palmieri one-timed the puck on one-knee to beat John Gibson. I think the intent of Hall’s pass was to go to Palmieri. It instead hit off Zajac. I don’t think that makes the assist illegitimate. It still went to a Devil, it went directly to a Devil, and it was not some fortunate bounce or weird play that led to Palmieri getting the puck. Zajac was just the literal middle-man. The play ultimately worked. It meant that instead of a potential primary assist, Hall got a secondary. I count it.
Game #69 - March 23 - at Pittsburgh - 5:15 into 2nd - Power Play Secondary Assist - Primary Assist: Severson, Goal: Butcher - NHL.com Video Link
The play began with Butcher making a pass out from behind his own net to start a breakout. Hall collected the pass at his own blueline and charged straight ahead into Pittsburgh’s end of the rink. After drawing two Pens, he passed the puck back to the center point towards Boyle - who misses the puck. But it’s OK because Damon Severson arrived at the left point to receive the puck. Without much hesitation, Severson passed the puck across into space for Butcher to skate onto it. Butcher took the pass and fired a wrister from the right point. Thanks to some Penguins being in the way, it got in for the PPG. While I think Hall was trying to pass the puck to Boyle, Severson saved the pass and turned into something for Butcher - who turned that into a goal. I count the assists as legitimate. The PPG tied up the game at that time, which ended in overtime in a 4-3 win.
Game #69 - March 23 - at Pittsburgh - 8:54 into 2nd - Secondary Assist - Primary Assist: Moore, Goal: Hischier - NHL.com Video Link
Here’s another goal in transition in a 4-on-4 situation. Or at least one where the team was not set up. Severson wins a puck in the left corner and knocks the puck forward. Hischier breaks away from the Penguins to get onto the puck. He chipped it ahead in the neutral zone for Hall to get it. Hall stretched to collect the puck and then carried it into the zone down the right side of the zone. Hischier and Moore entered the zone, rushing forward. Hall tried to pass the puck across to Moore, but the pass was blocked by Kris Letang. However, the puck still went to the other side of the zone and dropped in too close for Brian Dumolin to do anything about it (he whiffed at trying to knock it away in mid-air). Moore collected the puck as it came towards him. He saw Hischier wide open on Murray’s right flank and hooked Hischier up with a pass to the top of the crease. Hischier tapped it in to make it 3-1 New Jersey at the time. Since Hall was lucky his pass still went to the area he tried to get it to despite Letang blocking it, I cannot say his secondary assist was legit. Moore’s pass was and Hischier’s goal was easy.
Game #70 - March 24 - vs. Tampa Bay - 10:59 into 2nd - Secondary Assist - Primary Assist: Zacha, Goal: Palmieri - NHL.com Video Link
It took 49 assists but this is the first NHL.com video where it is not apparent where Hall’s assist actually took place. The replay shows Palmieri in the right corner dropping a puck to Pavel Zacha. Zacha took the puck up the right circle and made a short pass to Palmieri to cross up the Lightning defenders. Palmieri got away from Yanni Gourde and carried the puck to the high slot to get a wrist shot off before Brayden Point got in the way. The shot beat Andrei Vasilevskiy straight up on his blocker side.
Fortunately, the game recap video at NHL.com has the whole play. Palmieri won a puck on the left sideboards and drove to the left post. He didn’t get there, but he did get to a spot to make a quick pass to Hall at the crease. Vasilevskiy denied Hall’s shot. The rebound got loose, McDonagh bodied Hall to deny him a chance to get to it, and Zacha got to the puck first and knocked it to the right corner. That is where Palmieri picked up the puck and dropped it back to Zacha, who darted to the right corner to get it.
So Hall’s secondary assist was a gift on this play seeing that Zacha and Palmieri had touches before the final pass and shot were taken. It was a very sweet goal, though. It also put the Devils up 2-0 at the time in what would end in a huge 2-1 win over Tampa Bay.
Game #71 - March 27 - vs. Carolina - 5:47 into 1st - Secondary Assist - Primary Assist: Palmieri, Goal: Zacha - NHL.com Video Link
Hall’s fiftieth assist of the season was the first of three assists on March 27 against Carolina. It started with Mirco Mueller firing a long shot that was deflected wide from the right side boards. Hall collected the loose puck at the left side boards behind the left circle. Hall turned back towards the blueline, skated a little bit up the ice, and fired a direct pass to Palmieri who was on the upper edge of the left circle. He was also open. Palmieri fired a hard slap shot one-timer on net. Scott Darling stopped that shot with his right pad and Pavel Zacha fired in the rebound from the right circle. Zacha just one-timed the rebound to make it 1-0. Hall’s 50th assist was legitimate and Palmieri’s one-timer created a great rebound opportunity for Zacha. Very nice all around.
Game #71 - March 27 - vs. Carolina - 14:07 into 2nd - Power Play Primary Assist - Secondary Assist: Butcher, Goal: Palmieri - NHL.com Video Link
The play begins with Darling turning a puck aside to the left corner. Hall collected the puck off the boards behind the left circle by the sideboards. Hall passed the puck back to Butcher at the center point. Butcher delayed as he drew a Cane before passing the puck back to Hall, who was above the left circle. Hall skated the puck into the top of the left circle and then fired a cross ice pass to Palmieri in the right circle. Palmieri did not one-time it but he fired a sharp-angled wrist shot after taking the pass between Darling’s glove and left pad. This converted a power play and tied up the game at two each. The assists were legitimate and Palmieri’s finish, while not in the scoring chance area, was on-point.
Game #71 - March 27 - vs. Carolina - 11:05 into 3rd - Power Play Primary Assist - Secondary Assist: Butcher, Goal: Palmieri - NHL.com Video Link
As the seconds winded down on a power play, Zajac collected a loose puck at the left sideboards. He passed the puck to Butcher at the center point. After a second or two, Butcher passed it to Hall, who was at the left point. Hall skated the puck into the left circle and found a passing lane to Palmieri, who was in the slot. So Hall had a go and threaded an on-ice pass through Jaccob Slavin and to where Palmieri could reach it. Palmieri was able to lean forward and use his stick-blade to re-direct the pass up and past Darling’s left side. This converted the power play with one second left on it and tied up the game 3-3. Thanks to Stefan Noesen, the Devils won this one 4-3 in regulation. Like the last goal, the passes from Butcher and Hall were legit. On this goal, Hall’s pass created the goal in that all Palmieri had to do was tip it. He had inside position on Fleury and Darling was trying to see past a Miles Wood screen to see if Hall would shoot it. It was a good read, a better pass, and an important equalizer on that night.
An Arbitrarily Decided Assist of the Month: As important as most of the assists were - only two weren’t legitimate upon my review - there were not a lot of thrilling ones. That may be a result of the fact that six out of the eleven were secondary assists. But the final assist that set up Palmieri’s re-direction goal ticks all of the boxes. It was intentional, it was direct, it was impressive (the pass did get through Slavin and into the slot), it had some drama (final seconds of a third period power play with the Devils down a goal), and it had some importance (created the game tying PPG in an important game).
Let’s start with assists. Again, six out of the eleven were secondary assists. However, only two of them really should have not been given. It could be argued that two more - March 18 at Anaheim, the first one on March 23 against Pittsburgh - could be counted. That is if you think Zajac really did deny a potential Hall-to-Palmieri-cross-ice-power-play special and if Boyle was the intended target; and both are enough to deny legitimacy. But Zajac is a teammate and he continued the play; and Boyle didn’t mess up the pass that still went to Severson. So I think they’re fair assists. The really cheap one was the secondary assist on March 24 against Tampa Bay. That play was all about Zacha and Palmieri; Hall’s contribution did not really create the goal. That all said, two out of eleven assists in a month being not-really assists is still a good total. Lucky breaks happen, be it in the run of play or by the scorer.
The luck was more on Hall’s side when it came to goals. Aaron Ekblad and Anthony Pelech each scored a goal for him! Hall took a shot and a pass, respectively, and they turned them into goals. Yeah, those were flukes. But they happen here and there for players who shoot and attack as much as Hall did. Hall’s wrist shot was the primary source of goals for another month. Although, we did see some firsts to change things up a bit: Hall’s first deflection goal of the season was his 29th of the season on March 2 at Carolina. Hall’s first wraparound goal of the season was his 30th of the season on March 4 against Vegas. Still, Hall’s wrist shot was still his best weapon and he fired of some absolute beauties in March. The wraparound was sweet. The top-shelf goal against San Jose on March 20 was one of the few good things about that game. The overtime breakaway winner beating Murray on March 23 was great. The snipe of a PPG on March 29 was lovely. Of course, his second goal against the Isles on March 31 may be Hall’s best of the whole season. He took on three skaters and a goalie - and won with a picture-perfect wrister. Superstars make superstar plays and Hall has a superstar shot.
As far as the importance of the points, Hall’s points were crucial in keeping the Devils in several games in the month. Again, every game mattered in the regular season and the playoffs were not a guarantee in March. It was a night-to-night concern. So results mattered a lot. Knowing that four of Hall’s nine goals tied up the game, two others put them up one at the time, and one put them down by one, shows that Hall’s goals mattered. The same could be said for his assists. Six of them were on goals that either tied up the game or put the Devils up or down a goal. Two assists on goals that put the Devils up two goals were in games that ended with a final score difference of one. The point is that Hall’s points were mostly not racked up in garbage time. The 8-3 win in Vegas on March 14 (one goal, one assist) and the 6-4 beatdown of Montreal on March 6 (two assists) are exceptions, but games like those were exceptions in the whole season. As I wrote in last week’s review of February, I’d like to think the media took note of this when they filled their ballots for the Hart Trophy.
We’re near the end of the point review. Next week will be the final month of points review: April. While the playoffs are not in consideration for end-of-season awards, I will review his six playoff points in addition to his five points in three April regular season games. I have enjoyed watching Hall’s points all over again. He truly had one of the best seasons in New Jersey Devils season and he was a superstar.
In the meantime, Hall put up nine goals and eleven assists in March. What did you think of them? Which ones about them impressed you the most? Which were your favorite? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Hall’s points in March. Thank you for reading.