On the morning of Game 1 in the St. Louis-Colorado series, Blues center and captain Ryan O’Reilly briefly reflected on his six-season stay with the Avalanche.
“This is where my whole NHL career got started,” he said. “Obviously it’s very important for me and I had a great time here. And yeah, it’s always nice to see people. But again, the focus comes back to hockey.”
That night, O’Reilly opened the scoring in the series with an eye-popping first-period goal, but the Avalanche eventually pulled out the 3-2 win in overtime and now will attempt to take a 2-0 lead in the series Thursday night.
And O’Reilly will be booed again, just as the Predators’ Matt Duchene was in the first round. He used to be a fan favorite in Denver, though, and many Avs fans still rue the day he left. He’s since won a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe Trophy with the Blues, while the Avs haven’t been past the second round since 2002. If the Avs fail to get to a conference final again, O’Reilly will likely have a lot to do with that.