On Tuesday night in Newark, New Jersey, the New Jersey Devils hosted the Anaheim Ducks in their 2016-17 home opener.
Devils fans flooded the surrounding Prudential Center streets nearly four hours prior to puck drop anxious to get a first-hand look at the teams’ upgraded offense.
About six hours and two Taylor Hall goals later, Devils fans excited ‘The Rock’ with smiles on their faces following a 2-1 victory.
Hall, who accounted for both Devil goals, was named the games number one star.
“It was nice,” Devils coach John Hynes said after his team’s home opener. “Credit to Taylor — even in the first couples games, he played real well and had some real quality chances and they didn’t go in for him. Tonight, he obviously got the goals, but just his game in general has been very good, so it’s nice to see him get rewarded for his effort.”
After the Ducks took an early 1-0 lead on a Sami Vatanen goal, Hall responded with the game-tying and winning goals.
“They weren’t just any goals,” said Devils goaltender Cory Schneider, who stopped 23 shots and survived a penalty-shot attempt by center Chris Wagner late in the second period. “They weren’t with a big lead or if we were behind by a lot; they were a game-tier and a game-winner.
“We all know he can make plays himself and shoot the puck, but I thought these were good goal-scorer’s goals. It shows his versatility and how many ways he can be effective.”
Hall has made an immediate impact on a Devils team that is much improved. His hard work and style has not been overlooked.
“The thing that’s been great about Taylor is he plays the game the right way,” Hynes said. “He competes in all areas. He’s hard on the puck. He checks when he doesn’t have it. He’s not timid in confrontations. He’s responsible in his defensive zone, and he brings energy to your team.
“The thing we’re most proud of him about right now isn’t that he scored two goals, it’s the work ethic and buy-in that he’s had since he’s gotten here has been fantastic.
“If he continues that, he’s going to continue to have some success.”