Taylor Hall certainly had an eventful Barons debut Friday night at the Cox Convention Center.
Hall scored 38 seconds into the game but also drew a late-game, five-minute game-misconduct penalty that his teammates had to kill off to preserve a 4-3 win over Houston.
“It's not the return I expected,” Hall said. “I played hard. I thought I played pretty well. Going forward hopefully it gets a little easier for me because it was pretty fast at times. I'm a little bit lost in my own end but overall I'm pretty happy with how it went.”
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, Hall was playing for the first time in more than seven months after undergoing shoulder surgery.
But it was Jordan Eberle, one of Hall's linemates in Edmonton, who was part of a new “No. 2 line” that produced three goals. Eberle scored his third and fourth goals, the final one the game-winner with 6:16 to play.
Barons rookie defenseman Justin Schultz extended his streak of scoring in every game by making the key pass on the go-ahead goal Eberle stuffed home.
“Schultzy found me coming back door,” Eberle said. “He's such a heads-up player. He put it on my tape and I didn't have to do much other than put it in the net.”
Less than a minute after Eberle's goal, Hall drew a blow-to-the-head game misconduct penalty with 5:31 left. It produced an adventurous final five minutes. The Aeros peppered Oklahoma City goaltender Yann Danis, who recorded 35 saves.
“Yann played an outstanding game,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “He played unbelievable. The goals they beat him, he didn't have a chance. He pretty much was the story of the game. He was like that for us last year. Until we get things figured out defensively, our goalies will have to stand up.”
Similar to OKC's 6-4 loss to Houston a week ago, the Aeros controlled play, outshooting the Barons 38-18.