It’s been quite the playoff run for St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly, who broke a franchise record with 23 points in the postseason. What’s even more impressive, however, was how he managed to perform while battling an ongoing rib injury.
The first-year Blue revealed to reporters after St. Louis won the Stanley Cup Wednesday that he played with a cracked rib. He suffered the injury in the first round against the Winnipeg Jets, which the Blues won in six games.
Despite the injury, he didn’t miss a single playoff game and finished as the Blues’ leading scorer in the playoffs with eight goals and 15 assists. In the Cup Final alone, he recorded nine points and scored in each of the final four games, becoming the first player since Wayne Gretzky (1985) to accomplish such a feat, as per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. His first-period goal in Game 7 also started the Blues’ surge en route to their 4-1 victory in the deciding game against Boston.
O’Reilly, who was dealt to the Blues by the Buffalo Sabres last summer, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP, beating out the likes of Jordan Binnington and Tuukka Rask. Throughout the playoffs, he not only served as a physical and capable two-way forward, but as a leader on and off the ice for St. Louis.
Beyond the playoffs, O’Reilly played a vital role throughout a roller-coaster year for St. Louis, which saw the team go from last place in the NHL back in January to hoisting the Cup months later. O’Reilly led the team in scoring in the regular season as well, finishing his campaign with 77 points.
The 28-year-old wasn’t the only player pushing through an undisclosed injury; Patrice Bergeron revealed after the loss that he played through a groin injury.
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