Shero and Hall said the meeting was not necessarily a catalyst for Hall’s sensational, M.V.P.-caliber regular season, in which he led the Devils with 39 goals and 54 assists and lifted them to the playoffs. But it did flip a page. Hall was motivated to start over.
“It was a long summer,” he said. “It gives you a chance to refresh. When I started looking at everything, I just started looking at the positives. We have a great arena; the practice facility is right here. I have a coach and a G.M. who believed in me. We were really starting to put some pieces together that we could be a really competitive team.”
The Devils (44-28-9) face the Tampa Bay Lightning (54-23-5), the top team in the East, in the first round of the playoffs, beginning Thursday. The Devils won 10 of 13 games from March 10 to last Thursday, when they held off Toronto to earn the playoff berth. Hall, the left wing on the Devils’ top line, had nine goals and 10 assists in those games.
Earlier this season, Hall, 26, had a 26-game point streak, the longest in the N.H.L. in two years. The Devils won only 12 of those 26 games, but they stayed in the playoff race. Last season’s team was driven from…