By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Taylor Hall arrived in Boston just after the NHL trade deadline in desperate need of a fresh start. His confidence was rattled as he struggled with the Buffalo Sabres, and through those struggles, he he wasn't having much fun playing hockey.
Playing in Buffalo will do that to most people. But since he's escaped the depths of that hockey abyss and joined the Bruins, Hall has been rejuvenated both in his play and in his psyche. Considering the Bruins gave up very little to get the former Hart Trophy winner, Hall has been the gift that keeps on giving for a Boston team that has some huge aspirations this postseason.
Hall potted a pair of goals in Monday night's overtime victory over the New York Islanders, including the game-winner in overtime when he dangled through a defender and then beat Ilya Sorokin with an absurdly beautiful backhand.
After scoring just two goals in his 37 games for the Sabres, Hall is now up to eight goals in his 16 games for the Bruins. He's fit right in on Boston's second line with David Krejci and Craig Smith, both of whom he absolutely loves playing with. He can't say enough about Boston's leadership in the dressing room, and is now booming with confidence.
Most importantly, his love of hockey has been rejuvenated since arriving in Boston.
"It's been 16 games and it's probably been some of the most enjoyable hockey I've ever played in my career," Hall after the win. "I really hope there's more to come."
Hall wanted to come to Boston at the deadline, and he couldn't be happier with his new home.
"I've loved my time here. This city is amazing. Just walking around and the energy in this area for this team in general has been really fun to be a part of," he said.
"He's been good since he got here from Day 1. Really showed tonight," said head coach Bruce Cassidy. "He finished some nice plays and we need it. That's the Taylor Hall we were hoping to get, and so far, so good. Now playoffs are a different animal. Hopefully he's excited to get back in the playoffs and get going. We'll see where it leads."
With his confidence back, Hall has returned to being a dangerous scoring threat. He's only been to the postseason twice in his career, so he's looking forward to keeping things going when it matters the most.
"I feel like I've had a positive impact. It's important for me, personally on an individual level, to try and maintain that impact in the playoffs because, ultimately, that is our goal here," he said. "Whatever you've done in the regular season, it kind of goes out the window and it's time to perform and play well and ultimately help your team win in the playoffs."
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