O'Reilly has really stepped up

With Jack Eichel out of the lineup, Ryan O'Reilly is doing more

Paul Hamilton
February 13, 2018 - 8:57 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports


Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Ryan O’Reilly had a very inconsistent first half of the season, but he’s been much better lately. In his last 16 games, O’Reilly has nine goals and nine assists for 18 points.

O’Reilly had another incredible game in this one especially when the Sabres were down two men for 1:53 in the second period.

O’Reilly blocked two shots, got in two passing lanes and got the puck out of the zone a few times. Scott Wilson and Jacob Josefson were also great on this kill.

In this game, he played with Benoit Pouliot and Sam Reinhart. Reinhart found him at least twice open in the slot on good forechecks, but Louis Domingue made the save.

On the power play, Evan Rodrigues took Jack Eichel’s spot in the left circle and along the wall. On two attempts, they had the puck in the zone and Reinhart again set up O’Reilly. Number 23 swooped in for the rebound and the PP goal.

When O’Reilly is right, he’s sharp at both ends of the ice and that happened again on Tuesday. He's moving his feet and it's getting him to the play quicker. It's not easy to outwork the best team in the NHL.

The whole line was getting to the battles early and often.

As usual, the faceoffs were stellar as after 40 minutes, O’Reilly had won 19-of-27 draws. With Eichel out, the ice-time is going up as O'Reilly was on a pace for 25 minutes after two periods. For the season he’s been averaging 20 minutes. 

Buffalo got an early third period power play and not only did O'Reilly set up Okposo alone in the slot, he gathered the rebound off the back wall and put it in the empty net. That was O'Reilly's 11th power play goal of the season.

O'Reilly won some key faceoffs down the stretch and got the puck out at the end to feed Reinhart for the empty net goal.

O'Reilly richly deserved the number one star in the game as nobody was really close. He had a goal and two assists, but more importantly it was the way he played in every zone.

By the time the night was over, O'Reilly had played 24:41. He had six shots on goal and won 25-of-42 faceoffs.

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