CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Drafted as a defensive specialist, Ryan O'Reilly is opening eyes with his sudden offensive prowess.
One of two 20-year-old Colorado Avalanche centers -- Matt Duchene is the other -- O'Reilly has been on a tear with 7 goals in the past 14 games. He has 12 goals overall in 70 games, four more than he scored in 81 games as a teen-aged rookie a year ago.
"A lot of it is just getting into the right areas of the ice and going to the net," he told NHL.com after practice Monday. "If you work hard there, you seem to get bounces, and that's what's been working for me lately. The nice thing about when you have the puck on offense is you can be more creative and show the different skills you have."
A third-liner for most of his brief NHL career, O'Reilly has been given more responsibility -- and freedom -- to produce offensively because so many Avalanche forwards are sidelined with injuries.