The thrill is back for Ryan O’Reilly.A trade to the St. Louis Blues has O’Reilly excited about hockey and the future after three consecutive losing seasons with the Buffalo Sabres had him talking about losing his love for the game. Now the 27-year-old center is itching to get back on the ice and help the Blues reach the playoffs www.officialhurricanes.com
, even if that adventure doesn’t begin in earnest for a couple of months.”I feel like I have a spark in me now,” O’Reilly said Monday on a conference call. ”There’s something different. It’s interesting how it happened, but I’m happy, I’m excited and I don’t regret anything that’s happened.”O’Reilly said on Buffalo’s locker cleanout day that the Sabres had adopted a mentality of ”being OK with losing” and he believed it crept into their game. He stood by those comments Monday, thanked Buffalo and expressed happiness at moving on to start what he hopes will be a winning chapter of his life.When the Avalanche traded O’Reilly to the Sabres at the 2015 draft and he signed a $52.5 million, seven-year contract, the expectation was to be the central figure. With St. Louis, he joins an already-established core of Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko, Colton Parayko and captain Alex Pietrangelo.”My first year in Buffalo, I was really trying to feel things out, and being kind of young at that time Carolina Hurricanes T-Shirts Authentic
, getting that contract, I don’t think I kind of got a hold of the situation as best I could have,” O’Reilly said. ”I don’t think I was ready for that situation as best as possible. But I think going to St. Louis with all the kinds of things in play, the veterans that they have there, that it’s something that’s easier to kind of jump into.”O’Reilly joins a Blues team that missed the playoffs by one victory and already bulked up in free agency by signing center Tyler Bozak, winger David Perron and backup goaltender Chad Johnson. St. Louis acquired O’Reilly from Buffalo for young forward Tage Thompson, a top-10 protected 2019 first-round pick, a 2021 second-round pick and forwards Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund.St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong hopes a change of scenery benefits O’Reilly, who put up between 55 and 65 points in each of the past four seasons.”He’s got great passion for the sport,” Armstrong said. ”He’s got great passion to compete and to win and hopefully this gives him the boost that he feels is necessary that he can come in here and quite honestly we need that boost.”O’Reilly hopes his rapport with coach Mike Yeo, Schenn, Schwartz, Parayko and defenseman Joel Edmundson from playing together with Canada at the world championships eases his transition. With the spring tournament filling the void of the postseason Carolina Hurricanes Hoodies Authentic
, he’s eager to take part in the Stanley Cup playoffs for just the third time.”There’s nothing like playoff hockey,” O’Reilly said. ”It’s what we all kind of dream of doing. Unfortunately, my career, I haven’t done it enough. And I plan to come in and help this team get there, help this team win.”—AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow contributed to this report.— VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Anders Nilsson finally had his hard work rewarded with a victory.Loui Eriksson scored his second goal of the night late in the third period and Nilsson stopped 44 shots to pick up his first win in 2 1/2 months as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Boston Bruins 6-1 Saturday night.Nilsson was 0-7-0 in his last 11 appearances, including nine starts, since beating Nashville on Nov. 30.Article continues below ...”I feel like I’m getting back to my game a little bit,” the 27-year-old Swede said. ”Even though the results haven’t been going my way, or the team’s way, I’m feeling like my game has slowly been getting back to the way it should be and the way when I play my best.”It feels great to be able to contribute to two points.”Nilsson started the season strong with four wins in his first five starts, including shutouts over Ottawa and Minnesota. Since December, however Carolina Hurricanes Hats Authentic
, he has struggled. His win against the Bruins improved his record to 7-10-1.Jacob Markstrom was scheduled to start against the Bruins after Nilsson played in a 4-1 loss to San Jose on Thursday night. Nilsson learned after the morning skate that Markstrom was sick and he’d be starting instead.”It was plenty of time to get prepared,” he said. ”I still had the whole day. I just prepared the way I normally do.”Daniel Sedin, Sven Baertschi, Nic Dowd and Bo Horvat also scored for Vancouver, which scored four goals in the first to take control. It gave the Canucks just their second win in eight games.Vancouver was outshot 45-23 but got some timely saves from Nilsson.Tim Schaller scored in the third period for the Bruins, who lost in regulation for just the third time in 27 games. Tuukka Rask started and gave up four goals on eight shots in the first period. Anton Khudobin came on to start the second and finished with 13 saves.”I look at the goals and they got there,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. ”They wanted to get there, and we didn’t prevent them from getting there.”We got sloppy at times and we paid the price.”Nilsson made a couple of big saves early, including getting a pad on Danton Heinen’s shot off a rebound during a first-period Boston power play. In the third, he robbed Schaller and Sean Kuraly on back-to-back plays.Nilsson also got a little lucky as the Bruins hit three posts in the first 20 minutes.”We played a pretty good game, but we have to be honest, we got some bounces,” Nilsson said. ”It was nice to see us get an early lead and maybe control the game.The Canucks were outshot 18-9 in the first period but led 4-0.Eriksson opened the scoring two minutes into the game. Rask gave up a big rebound off Alex Edler’s shot Custom Carolina Hurricanes Jerseys
, and Sedin took a swipe at the puck before it rolled to Eriksson, who whacked it into the net.The Canucks went ahead 2-0 at 10:54 on a pretty play from Thomas Vanek. He skated down the middle the ice then feathered a pass through the legs of Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo to Sedin, who was alone at the side of the net.Horvat made it 3-0 just 56 seconds later as he took a pass from Troy Stecher, skated around defenseman Charlie McAvoy, and put a shot over Rask’s glove. Nilsson earned an assist on the goal.The Canucks made it 4-0 on a strange play. Rask stopped a shot from Baertschi and Boston’s Noel Acciari tried to clear the rebound, but the puck hit Kuraly’s stick and went into the net.”We hung our goalies out to dry,” the Bruins’ David Backes said. ”Then you are climbing uphill the rest of the games.”Dowd scored the only goal of the second period to make it 5-0. Jake Virtanen cut across the front of the net and took a shot that Khudobin stopped but Dowd put in the rebound for his second at 2:44.NOTES: Canucks D Ben Hutton was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game and the ninth time in the last 25. … Baertschi returned to the Canucks’ lineup after sitting out Vancouver’s 4-1 loss to San Jose on Thursday. … Louie DeBrusk, the father of Boston rookie forward Jake DeBrusk, worked between the benches as a color analyst for the first time in a game his son played.UP NEXTBruins: At Calgary on Tuesday night in the second of a five-game trip.Canucks: Host Colorado on Tuesday night.