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Taylor Hall says facing Oilers is 'super strange'

Devils forward will play Edmonton for first time since being traded

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The good news for New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall is he had a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday, enough to keep his focus on something other than what was coming Saturday.

The bad news is the Devils lost 4-2, and the excuse Hall was using to keep his mind off of his first game against his former team is gone. He will play the Edmonton Oilers as an opponent at Prudential Center on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, SN, NHL.TV).

The Oilers selected Hall with the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. He scored 132 goals and 328 points in 381 games in six seasons before Edmonton traded him to New Jersey for defenseman Adam Larsson on June 29.

"It's going to be weird, but to be honest, it was really nice to have a game [Friday] against a different team," Hall said. "I guess now I start thinking about it. I'm just trying to stay focused on helping my team and trying to get two points for us. It's definitely going to be weird and I'm not going to downplay that. It's going to be a super strange atmosphere for me, but the quicker I put that aside and just focus on playing hockey and focus on my contribution to the team, I think that's the best way to go."

Hall said in November that his motivation after the trade was to prove the Oilers wrong for getting rid of him. He's hit or miss on if he has done that through almost half of his first season in New Jersey.

He has nine goals and 16 assists (25 points) in 30 games, and the Devils are 16-17-7, six points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Oilers, who haven't made the playoffs since 2006, are 20-13-7, third in the Pacific Division.

"I wanted to prove them wrong in more of a team sense than anything, more of, 'How much can I do to help my team?'" Hall said. "I'm obviously disappointed in that factor. We're one game below .500. We're not in a playoff spot and Edmonton is. I don't think that falls all on my shoulders, but certainly I think I have another level to get to and I think I will."

Video: NJD@MTL: Hall buries Henrique's slick no-look pass

Hall said it's easier on him to have his first game against the Oilers in New Jersey rather than in Edmonton. He said not having a morning skate, when he would see many familiar faces and potentially have to discuss his time in Edmonton with the media, also helps.

"I don't have a whole lot of time to think about it, and it's not like I have to come to the rink [Saturday] morning and do the whole song and dance," Hall said.

Hall mentioned it also benefits him that the Devils play at Edmonton on Thursday.

"I don't know who made the schedule, but they made it pretty advantageous to my situation," Hall said. "I get to play them twice in a week and then it's over with. It's nice that way."

That doesn't change Hall's expectations for Saturday.

"Definitely going to be a strange feeling playing the blue and orange," he said.

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