June 13, 2019 / 2:54 AM / 12 days ago

Blues forward O'Reilly named Stanley Cup playoffs MVP

(Reuters) - St. Louis Blues forward Ryan O’Reilly was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs on Wednesday after leading his team to their first championship.

Jun 12, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; St. Louis Blues center Ryan O'Reilly (90) hoists the Stanley Cup after defeating the Boston Bruins in game seven of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

O’Reilly, who was acquired by St. Louis last offseason, scored his team’s opening goal in each of the final four games of the Stanley Cup Final and in the process set a franchise record with the most points in one playoff year with 23.

“I stopped trying to worry about the outcome and just give it everything I had,” said O’Reilly, who finished tied for the NHL scoring lead in the playoffs.

“I was getting bounces. It was amazing, my linemates played great, I thought we created every night.”

When O’Reilly opened the scoring in the Cup-clinching 4-1 victory over the host Boston Bruins, he became the first player since Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky in 1985 to score in four consecutive games of the Stanley Cup Final.

It has been a remarkable journey for O’Reilly, who only had 13 games of playoff experience prior to this season.

O’Reilly got a taste of the playoffs in 2010 and 2014 as a member of the Colorado Avalanche, who traded him to the Buffalo Sabres in 2015.

Last year, after three consecutive losing seasons with the Sabres, O’Reilly admitted that at times during the campaign he fell out of love with the game.

But those feeling soon became a distant memory when O’Reilly was traded to the Blues, a team he immediately realized would have the potential go further in the playoffs than he had ever been before.

“From knowing a bunch of guys on the team and then looking at the roster I was just so amped up and I just said, ‘let’s go win a Cup,’” said O’Reilly.

“We knew it was there, we knew we had the pieces but it was so educational for myself to see how tough it is and how tough you have to work and even keel you have to be.

“It was always there that we could do it but to actually do it, it’s exhausting. I’m exhausted.”

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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