BOSTON -- On just about any other team, Taylor Hall would probably find himself skating on the top line. In a few other instances, he would be part of a team's second line.
That was initially the plan with the Bruins this season. But the former No. 1 overall pick and Hart Trophy winner currently occupies space on the third line -- and he doesn't mind it one bit.
While it's not exactly how it was planned, with Hall expected to line up with David Krejci and David Pastrnak on the second line before the season, that's how things have shaken out because of the envious depth up and down the Bruins roster. Hall has been penciled in at the left wing spot next to Charlie Coyle and Trent Frederic on Boston's third line, and he's also been bumped down to Boston's No. 2 power play unit.
But the veteran doesn't see either move as a demotion. He's just rolling with Boston's embarrassment of riches, and on Tuesday night, Hall scored on each of those units.
He was the difference in Boston's 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden. It was the team's 19th win of the season and 13th straight win at home to start the year.
While some former superstars would be miffed about getting knocked down to the third line, Hall is just happy to be contributing on a juggernaut of a club.
"It's whatever's best for the team," Hall said of his current roles with the Bruins. "You come into the year, you think you're going to be on one line and you're going to have a lot of success. Sometimes things work out. Sometimes things don't. But for our team, we're 19-3 or whatever it is. Wherever you're slotted, you've got to make the best of your ice time. Charlie Coyle as a third-line center, that's one of the best third-line centers in the whole league.
"I don't take it as a demotion," he continued. "I take it as, 'Do the best and what you can with the ice time you're given and the opportunity you're given.' I think we can be a really good line."
Hall's first tally came just over a minute into the game, when he deflected a Brandon Carlo shot by Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy. His second came about three minutes into the third period and broke up a 1-1 tie, when he slapped home a Nick Foligno feed with the Bruins on the power play.
Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery praised Hall for his team-first attitude after the victory.
"He is very accepting of the fact that I'm using him on the third line and we're using him on the second power play because that is what's best for the Boston Bruins," said Montgomery. "I can't say enough about his exemplary attitude. He's still getting 15 minutes a night, and some nights he's getting 16, 17 depending on special teams."
Getting bumped down to the third line is a lot easier to take with the Bruins winning every night. And Hall sees how his teammates Jake DeBrusk (skating with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the first line) and Pavel Zacha (on the second line with Krejci and Pastrnak) are playing on their respective lines. The Bruins have an absurd amount of depth, and that is a major part of why they are the best team in hockey.
"That's the key this year. We can talk about system changes all we want. But we have such a plethora of players and guys that can play anywhere." said Hall. "I think that's what, over the course of a game, really wears teams down, how deep we are. Not just at forward and on defense. Guys being put on waivers are tremendous hockey players in this league. I'd say that's the biggest change."
Hall now sits with eight goals on the season, and is on pace for his first 30-goal season since winning the Hart Trophy in 2018.
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