Oilers, Draisaitl spoil Hall's return to Edmonton

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[January 13, 2017]  EDMONTON, Alberta -- After Edmonton beat the New Jersey 3-2 in overtime Thursday, Oilers forwards Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins waited outside the visitors dressing room. They wanted to greet their old friend and teammate, Taylor Hall.

On a night where all eyes were focused on Hall, as he made his first appearance in Edmonton since the Oilers traded him to New Jersey, Draisaitl was the star. He had a three point-night, including the game-winning goal.

Draisaitl rifled home a feed from Connor McDavid for the game winner. McDavid had two assists on the night. He leads the NHL scoring race with 50 points.

"With him you always have to be ready," Draisaitl said of McDavid. "He can make things happen out of nothing. What a nice pass. It was pretty easy to tap that one in."

Devils goalie Cory Schneider said there was little he could do.

"We try to have the system where the goalie takes the shot and the d-man takes the pass. But, with McDavid there handling the puck, it's a tough read for the D. It's quick pass. It's on and off his tape."

Meanwhile, Hall got an assist as a consolation prize. He was traded to the Devils last July in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson.

The Oilers snapped a two-game losing streak. The Devils extended their winless skid to four games, including a 2-1 overtime loss to the Oilers last Saturday at the Prudential Center.

Eight minutes into the first period, during a TV timeout, the Rogers Place video screen displayed a tribute to Hall, and the Rogers Place crowd responded with a standing ovation. Hall, out on the ice and with all of the cameras on him, applauded the crowd in return. The left winger had 328 points in 381 career games as an Oiler, placing him 17th on Edmonton's all-time scoring list.

"On a personal level, I'm glad to have these games out of the way," said Hall of the two games against the Oilers within a five-day span. "Not in the sense that I was dreading them, but just it's a lot to take. All in all, I had a fun night. The ovation, and I think I even got booed a little bit there by the end. I think you can say I'm a former player now after you get booed."

The Devils opened the scoring at 18:06, as Travis Zajac knocked the puck into the net after Kyle Palmieri swept out in front of Oiler goalie Cam Talbot's net.

With the Devils taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, it marked the fourth straight game that the Oilers trailed after the opening period.

But, just 16 seconds into the second, the Oilers tied it. Draisaitl dropped the puck for rushing Andrej Sekera, and the defenseman rifled a shot between Schneider's pads.

With 50 seconds left in the second, Hall helped give the Devils the lead, turning and firing a shot from the slot off Steven Santini's arm. Santini got credit for his first goal of the season.

Hall's return to Edmonton took an ugly turn early in the third. Right off the faceoff, Hall's elbow knocked Zack Kassian to the ice. Kassian, infuriated stalked his former teammate down the ice, caught up to Hall and threw a punch at his quarry. Hall, not wanting to fight one of the Oilers tough guys, ducked and covered.

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The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a overtime winning goal buy forward Leon Draisaitl (29) against the New Jersey Devils at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

 Hall got a double minor, Kassian got a lone minor.

"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. Definitely deserved four minutes there, and if I could go back, I'd take that back. Sometimes your emotions get the best of you. You want to battle off a face-off, but not like that. I'd like to have that one back."

Oilers coach Todd McLellan wasn't pleased by his former player's actions.

"You talk about blows to the head and I don't know if Taylor has had concussions before, maybe he has," said McLellan. "I didn't think it was a clean play by any means. Good for Kassian to stand up for himself."

While Devils killed off the penalty, they couldn't keep the Oilers at bay. With 7:24 left in the third, Patrick Maroon banged away at a loose puck in the crease and scored his 17th goal of the season, forcing the overtime session. Maroon now has six goals in his last five games.

"It's one of those games where we kept grinding and grinding" said Maroon. "We didn't give up, but we had to go after their goalie, we did and we finally got that dirty one that we wanted and that's a huge two points."

NOTES: The Oilers beat the Devils 2-1 in overtime last Saturday at the Prudential Center. ... The Oilers had two new additions to their roster Thursday, both called up from their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield, Calif.; C Jujhar Khaira and G Laurent Brossoit. Brossoit went 0-4-1 with an .873 save percentage for the Oilers last season. ... C Blake Coleman and D Karl Stollery were called up by the Devils from their AHL affiliate in Albany, N.Y., ahead of Thursday's game. ... G Cam Talbot made his league leading 39th start in goal. ... After missing the previous four games, D Brandon Davidson returned to the Oilers lineup. ... The Oilers scratched D Eric Gryba and LW Matt Hendricks. ... The Devils scratched LW Luke Gazdic, C Pavel Zacha and D Seth Helgeson.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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