EDMONTON - Looking back over the first 33 games of the season, there should never even have been a debate.
Taylor Hall has proven he was the deserving first overall pick in last summer's NHL Entry draft and that he's destined to be a star in the league.
While the Oilers were happy with the way they played defensively on their recent two-game road trip through California, offensively, they would have been lost without their top line of Hall, Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner.
The trio generated the majority of chances in tight losses to the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. Hall collected his 11th goal of the season in the 3-2 shootout loss on Thursday.
"Going into these games against the top teams in the conference you want to play a good, solid game and not be trading chances," said Hall. "We have to play our own game, stick to our systems and usually when we do that, it works out for the best. As Tom (Renney) says, we don't want to get into a track meet with them."
Anchoring the left side of the Oilers top line, Hall looked especially impressive coming in off the rush on the wing.
His speed and puck-handling ability forced opposing defencemen back, creating room for Eberle and Gagner.
"You have to be able to go at teams and be confident in your teammates ability and your own ability," said Eberle. "We were able to do that and take the play to these teams. We definitely generated some chemistry over the past few games, we've been playing well, we've been cycling the puck and doing it against some pretty good lines. We need to continue doing that and as the games go on, we're just going to continue getting better.
"Whoever we're match up against we can't focus too much on it, we have to just go out and play."
The line has looked especially effective since Gagner replace the injured Shawn Horcoff in the middle. The three have developed a quick rapport with each other and compliment each other well.
"It didn't take too long for Sam to gel with our line and I think it's been great since he joined it," Hall said. "I think the last three or four games we're getting good chances every game, whether we're scoring or not, we're getting good chances. We're not spending a whole lot of time in our own end and that's always positive."