Apr 6, 2023 at 10:42 am
They call Ryan O’Reilly “The Worker,” a nickname given to Southpaw nearly a decade ago when right-hand man Bill O’Reilly (no relation) had the highest-rated news program in the United States.
Ryan can’t remember which of his Colorado Avalanche teammates coined the nickname—it was either John Michael Lyles or Paul Stastney—but the boot fit him.
Determined and determined O’Reilly is poised to be the biggest X-factor on the Toronto Maple Leafs forward’s roster that seemed incomplete with the 14 games the quarterback missed due to a fumble. She was recovering from surgery on her broken finger.
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“It’s 100%,” O’Reilly assured reporters in Toronto before heading to Boston for Thursday’s rematch against the hockey version of Thanos.
“Come and go to the fire here.”
Versatile and reliable across all three areas, O’Reilly scored three times and added two assists in eight games with the Maple Leafs while meeting a host of teammates.
At TD Garden, in the Leafs’ fifth last game of the regular season but best repeat of the playoffs, he would score third streak with former Blues teammate Noel Acciari and rover Alexander Kerfoot.
O’Reilly 3C’s role on the road is strategic and should be a harbinger of how coach Sheldon Keefe will handle playoff games in Tampa.
The line is built for defensive stability when an opposing coach with a deep attacking set controls matches, and the plan for attacking players is not to enter the area with possession but instead offload and chase.
Kerfoot’s speed and one-on-one physical abilities should catch two pucks on the forward check, place them in the middle and unleash O’Reilly’s point guard instincts.
“Often you get the puck when you play with it,” said Kerfoot. “He brings a little bit of swagger to our team, I think. He has that experience. He won a cup, he won a Conn Smith Cup. He’s been there before. He did.”
“It completes our group.”
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Keefe adds, “He has this presence around him — very confident in who he is.”
Confidence manifests in resilience.
O’Reilly doesn’t blink when the coach tells him to skate the last six or go wing. His ego isn’t so fragile that it gets affected by where his nickname lands on the whiteboard. Keefe likes the fluidity his new game brings to the top nine.
“Wherever I put it, it does a really good job,” Keefe said. “He’s a man you want a lot of from.”
Earlier this week, Keefe brought up the idea of a potential return for the Ontario line (Tavares-O’Reilly-Marner) that boarded O’Reilly’s three-night getaway in Buffalo as he fondly recalls O’Reilly’s brief chemistry with Auston Matthews in Vancouver (“Maybe we’re watching him again”) .
But if you’re looking for the best idea of what the Maple Leafs’ playoff team will look like on the road, tune in Thursday.
Ilya Samsonov will start in the net and the Marlies will take their place.
The way Keefe handles this match against the savage Coach’s Cup champs is like a test drive when it counts.
“It’s good to have a match like this at this stage of the table that will demand the best of you,” said Keefe, who was impressed by their hosts’ ability to secure victories in meaningless matches.
“Maybe the NHL Awards can be held in their building. As for me, they should clean up.”
The Bruins are also treating their Easter Sunday runs against Toronto and New Jersey as a last chance to prepare for what top-level competition will look like.
Also, the B’s need only three out of five wins to set a new NHL record with 63 wins.
“They’re the best team in the league right now. It’s everyone’s measuring stick,” Kerfoot said. “You love playing in these hostile environments – and it’s about as hostile as it gets. »
O’Reilly studied his teammates from a distance while his finger healed, and thought Boston’s consistency should serve as a lesson for the Maple Leafs.
“It’s going to look like a playoff,” O’Reilly said.
Single timer: Taylor Hall has not played since February 25 but is back in training with the Bruins. However, coach Jim Montgomery deemed the winger “questionable” for Thursday. “I feel good,” Hall said. “I feel like I have gas that some guys in the league might not have, right after this break. … He mentioned he had the top six playoff pairings in mind: Auston Matthews-Michael Bunting and John Tavares-William Nylander, with the possibility of advancing with another couple.” Expect reliable defensive midfielders like O’Reilly and Mitch Marner to change hands, depending on the situation…. Keefe’s Nylander-Tavares-Marner line didn’t score on Tuesday against Columbus, but they hit 70% of expected goals.After reviewing the tape, he was encouraged Keefe, “They have the entire game record.”… Bruins David Krejci’s “questionable” position to play the Leafs….. With the Lightning losing to the Rangers on Wednesday, the Maple Leafs have a 98.9% chance of securing home ice in the first round.
The Maple Leafs are expected Thursday in Boston
Bundesliga – Matthews – Garnekrock
Nylander – Tavares – Marner
Carefoot – O’Reilly – Akkari
Giordano – Hall