You want to look on the bright side? Good, so do I. The dark side is a place Devils fans have sent far too much time the last couple of years, and I refuse to revisit it just because the team is facing one of the inevitable trials and tribulations that result from a long, grueling season. I'm sure the Devils knew that losing Taylor Hall for a fairly significant amount of time was a distinct possibility when he was shipped back to New Jersey to have his knee examined yesterday, and that didn't seem to dampen their spirits too much while they played their most complete game of the year. If this team isn't going to let it's effort be effected by the absence of their most dynamic offensive catalyst then I'll be damned if I am going to let my hopeless optimism be effected either.
Did the upcoming, road heavy schedule ahead just become a little more daunting? Sure. Are a couple of underperforming players going to have to find their game rather quickly? Absolutely. I'd say that two of those players combining for an overtime goal that pushed the Devils win streak to five was a hell of a sign that that may be coming to fruition. There were no shortage of players (Bennett, Zacha, Lappin, etc.) that took advantage when given an increase in responsibility last night. If that continues I see no reason why this news should be treated as an obituary. This west coast swing was supposed to be a test of this team's character regardless, so why not have it be the ultimate test that requires the upmost focus and consistency from a group of players that seemed dead set on making the playoffs before they got off to this unlikely start?
There's never a good time to have your most talented player in a walking boot, but the best (and I use that term loosely) time would probably be when your riding high off a 5th straight victory without him. If the Devils can weather this storm then they may just be better for it in the long term. Am crazy for trying to convince myself that Taylor Hall's injury could prove beneficial? Probably, but check back with me when (Also See: If) they lose a game without him, and make sure you have meditation tips when you do.