NHL Hockey

Hall hot, Devils not heading into matchup with Knights

NEWARK, N.J. -- The points are piling up for Taylor Hall, but the wins aren't necessarily accompanying his production for the New Jersey Devils.

Hall has a point in every game he has played in 2018 and a point in New Jersey's last 17 games heading into Sunday's home game with the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Devils (33-24-8) are 9-8 in their last 17 games and 11-11-2 during Hall's last 24 appearances. Hall has 17 goals and 17 assists during his last 24 games since his last pointless game on Dec. 30 and he has 12 goals and 10 assists during his last 17 contests. The league differentiates between the two since Hall missed the final three games before the All-Star break due to injury.

Hall is the eighth player in the last 30 years since 1987-88 to record a point in his last 24 appearances. The last player to record a point in his last 25 games played was Chicago's Patrick Kane, who did it in 26 games during the 2015-16 season.

Others to achieve it were Mario Lemieux (46 games in 1989-90, 28 in 1995-96), Mats Sundin (30 games in 1992-93), Steve Yzerman (28 games in 1988-89), Wayne Gretzky (25 games, 1990-91), Brett Hull (25 games, 1991-92) and Sidney Crosby 25 (2000-11).

Hall kept the streak alive by scoring a power-play goal in the final minute of the second period in a 3-1 loss at Carolina.

However, despite Hall remaining hot, others continued to slump, which prompted coach John Hynes to shuffle some lines in the first period 24 hours after a 3-2 loss at Florida.

"We need a lot more guys going," Hynes told reporters. "The last two games we've been outplayed. We don't have enough guys playing as hard enough as committed enough and as detailed enough to have success. So, we got what we deserved. Last night and tonight."

Among those hardly as productive as Hall is Brian Boyle, who is on a 22-game drought. Also slumping is Jesper Bratt with one goal in his last 20 games.

"We still have more to give," Devils center Travis Zajac told reporters. "And like I said, our execution was not there tonight. It didn't allow us to play with the puck as much and felt like we were chasing all game and that's what happened. We definitely need more from everyone who's not Hallsy. We can't wait for him to do it all. We need more."

The Devils enter Sunday in seventh place and five points ahead of Carolina for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Golden Knights (41-18-5) are four points behind Nashville for first place in the Western Conference and own an eight-point lead atop the Pacific Division.

Vegas is on its third three-game losing streak this season. After an overtime loss Monday at Los Angeles and a home loss to the Kings on Tuesday, the Golden Knights dropped a 5-4 decision to the Ottawa Senators on Friday.

Vegas gave up three goals in the second period and the tiebreaking goal with 11:09 remaining in the third.

"It was good that we showed some character, but that's not the type of game that we want to play, and we've been playing to have success, myself included," Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury told reporters. "We can't be losing these games now."

The Golden Knights sustained a previous three-game skid Nov. 28-Dec. 1. They followed it up by winning 14 of their next 16 games (14-0-2) and are hoping for a similar run after their worst week of on-ice performances in three months.

"There's just no excuse for us. We're hockey players. It's a hard job, but everybody needs to be ready," Golden Knights center Jonathan Marchessault told reporters. "Today was just not good. Our last game was not good. We can't just leave (Fleury) out there to try to save us."

The Knights played without defenseman Nate Schmidt and forward James Neal due to undisclosed injuries. Both are day-to-day but are expected to join the team for the start of its five-game trip.

Schmidt appeared to get injured registering a hit on Dustin Brown in the third period Tuesday while Neal missed his second straight game after appearing to injure his right hand during the second period Monday.

Sunday is the Golden Knights' first trip to Prudential Center, but they are hoping for better results in their third game in a New York-area building. On Oct. 30, they dropped a 6-3 decision to the New York Islanders and the next night sustained a 6-4 loss to the New York Rangers.

Updated March 3, 2018

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