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An emotional night for Taylor Hall

Devils forward cheered in return to Edmonton but says buildup to game was stressful

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- Taylor Hall is happy to move on with his new team after an emotional six days when he faced his former team twice.

The New Jersey Devils left wing had an assist on Steven Santini's first NHL goal, but the Devils lost 3-2 in overtime to the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Thursday.

"On a personal level, I'm glad to have these games out of the way," said Hall, who played his first six seasons for the Oilers after being the No. 1 pick of the 2010 NHL Draft. "Not in the sense that I was dreading them, but it's a lot to take. All in all, I had a fun night, the ovation, and I think I even got booed there a little bit by the end.

"I think you can say I'm a former [Oilers] player now, after you get booed."

The Devils lost 2-1 in overtime to the Oilers in New Jersey on Saturday.

"These last six or seven days have been kind of stressful, not knowing what to expect and having to play your former team," Hall said. "We got two points out of the two games; should have been a lot more."

Hall, who was traded to the Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson on June 29, 2016, was the center of attention for part of the game Thursday.

Late in the second period, he took the rebound of PA Parenteau's shot and quickly fired it back at the Edmonton goal. The puck hit Santini near the right post and went in to put the Devils ahead 2-1 with 50.5 seconds remaining.

Video: NJD@EDM: Santini deflects home first NHL goal

At a neutral zone faceoff early in the third period, Hall and Edmonton's Zack Kassian got their sticks up. Hall swung around and his elbow caught Kassian in the face.

Bloodied, Kassian chased Hall into the Oilers zone and confronted him.

Hall received a four-minute high-sticking penalty. Kassian received two minutes for roughing.

"I meant to give him a nudge, not in the face but definitely give him a nudge," Hall said. "It just wasn't a smart play. I definitely deserved four minutes there, and if I could go and take that back … sometimes your emotions get the best of you. You want to battle off a faceoff but not like that.

"I'd like to have that one back and luckily they didn't score on the power play. Like I said, sometimes your emotions get the best of you."

Hall, who has nine goals and 17 assists in 33 games this season, was saluted by the Oilers and their fans at the first television time out at 7:50 of the first period.

He stood on the ice to watch the video on the arena's big screen, then returned the salute to the Rogers Place fans.

Video: NJD@EDM: Oilers welcome back Taylor Hall

"A lot of different thoughts," said Hall, who had 132 goals and 328 points in 381 games with the Oilers. "I said it was a weird night the first game playing. Tonight was just a whole different level. Even though I'd never played in this building before, hearing that from the fans and seeing the video, it was all kind of surreal.

"In saying that, I think it's a night I'll remember for a long time and I was very, very grateful for the applause, and the way that people have treated me since I've been here has been awesome."

Devils goalie Cory Schneider said he had a conversation with Hall about coming back to Edmonton.

"I'm sure it was an emotional night for him," Schneider said. "He had a big point for us."

Schneider went through the same kind of event after he was traded by the Vancouver Canucks to the Devils on June 30, 2013 for the No. 9 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

"I was pretty fortunate that [my return] was pretty early in the season, four or five games in we were in Vancouver," Schneider said. "That came up pretty quickly, which was nice. We talked about it a little bit and I think he mentioned that not being in the old building [Rexall Place] helps, that the familiarity isn't there, but I'm sure it was an emotional night for him with the fans and being back in the city.

"I thought he handled it well. He had a big point for us there. But I'm sure he's glad it's over with."

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