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Blues' O'Reilly has ultimate support group

Curtis Zupke, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Hockey

BOSTON -- Ryan O'Reilly doesn't need much more inspiration to play the biggest game of his life. Everything he's worked for in his career boils down to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

But he can draw a little extra from his 99-year-old grandmother.

Throughout the playoffs, Deidre O'Reilly has emailed the St. Louis Blues center encouragement from her home in Seaforth, Canada, a small town in the southern part of the Ontario province. The latest message arrived Monday.

"She's 99 and she's been a huge supporter of my brother (Cal) and I and a massive part of our family," O'Reilly said. "The goal is to hopefully bring one back to her, bring a Cup back. I'm sure she'd be very excited."

The way O'Reilly has played this postseason, he could bring back more than the Stanley Cup when the Blues play the Boston Bruins on Wednesday at TD Garden.

O'Reilly has made a case for the Conn Smythe Trophy for most outstanding player in the playoffs with his beastly two-way play. His 21 points, on six goals and 15 assists, are tied for the most in a single playoff in Blues history, last accomplished by Brett Hull in 1990.

 

But O'Reilly stamps his mark on all facets of the game, from faceoffs to penalty killing to shutting down the opponent. And he's done it so effectively that he's crowded the Blues' side of the MVP conversation that was initially thought to start with goalie Jordan Binnington.

"We need him to keep being great for one more game," St. Louis coach Craig Berube said of O'Reilly.

That would be the cherry on top because O'Reilly has been the one constant in the Blues lineup since he arrived from a trade from the Buffalo Sabres last July. He's provided St. Louis with a do-everything center, even when the Blues weren't doing much of anything in the first three months of the season.

"He's our most consistent player from start to finish," Brayden Schenn said. "Even when the team was playing terrible at the start, he was still (scoring a) point a game. He was leading us right from the beginning ... he's unbelievable. The more you play with a guy, you learn how good he is."

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