Hall looks to continue his production and help the Oilers to a fourth straight win when they open a six-game homestand Saturday night against the struggling St. Louis Blues.
Drafted first overall by Edmonton this past June, Hall is expected to be the centerpiece of the team’s rebuilding effort after finishing with the league’s worst record last season.
The 19-year-old struggled early in his rookie campaign, going seven games without a goal and managing seven points in his first 17 contests. Hall appears to have found his groove with five goals and two assists in his past seven games.
He had his first two-goal game and Nikolai Khabibulin(notes) stopped 33 shots to lead Edmonton (9-12-4) to a 5-0 victory at Toronto on Thursday that capped a perfect three-game trip for the young team.
“At the beginning of the season, I said it was a process and I just wanted to get a comfort level down,” Hall said. “Definitely, there are games now where I feel very comfortable out there and my confidence is good. Any player can tell you, when you do have confidence it’s a special thing.
“I’m feeling pretty good about my game right now.”
The Oilers have won four of five since coach Tom Renney laid into his team following a 5-0 loss in Phoenix on Nov. 23.
“What we’ve done is we’ve just tried to break each game into increments of 20 minutes - and even beyond that 5-minute segments - and identify the good things that they’re doing,” Renney said. “Not to dwell too much on those things that can go wrong because that can happen to any team.
“Just try to build the resolve that is required to work your way through those tough stretches.”
The next area for Renney’s club to improve is its play at home. The Oilers have lost seven of eight at Rexall Place since winning their first two there.
Khabibulin became the third goaltender to win for Edmonton during the streak. Martin Gerber(notes) beat the Senators, Devan Dubnyk(notes) defeated the Canadiens in overtime and Khabibulin recorded his 43rd shutout after missing seven games with a groin injury.
Khabibulin is likely to be back in net Saturday. He is 4-0-2 with a 2.61 goals-against average in his last six starts against St. Louis.
“We’re definitely going in the right direction,” Khabibulin said.
The Blues (12-9-3) definitely aren’t going in the right direction, having matched a season high with four straight losses. They haven’t dropped five in a row in regulation since Dec. 10-18, 2008.
St. Louis has dropped six of seven on the road, allowing five goals or more five times.
The Blues won the final three meetings last season, with Steen tallying two goals and four assists.