Second-year center Ryan O’Reilly continued his recent hot streak by scoring his eighth goal of the season during the second period of Saturday’s game against Nashville.
After a good shift that saw the Avalanche sustain heavy pressure around Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne’s crease, O’Reilly deposited a rebound into the back of the net from just outside the goalmouth at the 4:15 mark of the middle frame.
It was O’Reilly’s third goal in four games, a stretch that came on the heels of a 16-game personal goal-less drought from Jan. 6-March 1. Of note, he missed seven games during that time period (Jan. 18-Feb. 5) due to a shoulder injury.
The Clinton, Ontario native has now tied his goal total from his rookie season despite having played in 21 fewer games to this point (60 games this season versus 81 a year ago).
O’Reilly nearly had another goal later in the second period after he deftly tipped home an Erik Johnson
wrister from the point with 8:07 remaining, but it was quickly waved off because the forward’s stick was clearly too high.
He had one more golden opportunity before the night was through when he found himself on a breakaway early in the third period. O’Reilly had Rinne beat on the play, but his backhander rang off the post.Olver, Van Der Gulik Recalled
The Avalanche made a pair of roster moves on Saturday, recalling forwards Mark Olver
and David Van Der Gulik
from the American Hockey League’s Lake Erie Monsters.
Both players were in the lineup tonight, replacing injured regulars Milan Hejduk
and Paul Stastny
. Hejduk left Friday night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks in the second period after suffering a shoulder injury, while Stastny took his leave during the third period with a back ailment.
The call-ups of Olver and Van Der Gulik gave the Avalanche 12 healthy forwards, meaning the team had no healthy scratches tonight. Olver appeared in the seventh game of his rookie season, while Van Der Gulik skated in the 12th NHL game of his career (and sixth this season with Colorado). The latter also picked up an assist on O’Reilly’s goal in the second period.
Olver is Lake Erie’s leading goal scorer this season, netting 23 tallies in 58 games during his first professional campaign. The Northern Michigan University product also ranks second on the Monsters with 40 points (23g/17a).
Van Der Gulik, who suffered a knee injury during his previous recall by the Avalanche and subsequently missed 15 games before being reassigned to the Monsters, has 21 points (11g/10a) in 36 AHL games this year.
By the Letter
With Colorado’s two assistant captains, Hejduk and Stastny, out of the lineup tonight, the Avalanche designated a pair of players to fill in and wear letters on their sweaters against Nashville.
As always, Adam Foote wore the captain’s ‘C’, but his assistant captains on the evening were defenseman Erik Johnson
and forward Cody McLeod
Johnson wore an ‘A’ on his sweater at times while playing with the St. Louis Blues, but McLeod had never previously held the honor during his NHL career (excluding preseason games).It Adds Up
As Avalanche fans well know, Colorado’s list of injured players extends far deeper than just Hejduk and Stastny. Colorado currently has seven other players sitting out – either short term or long term – due to injury.
John-Michael Liles has now missed the last two games with leg injury suffered early in Colorado’s game against Minnesota on Tuesday, while Ryan Stoa
will likely miss another two weeks after undergoing an emergency appendectomy last week.
Colorado’s other injured players are all out long-term, a list which includes Kyle Cumiskey (whiplash), Tomas Fleischmann (pulmonary emboli), T.J. Galiardi (wrist), Peter Mueller
(head) and Kyle Quincey (shoulder).
The Avalanche has now lost 358 man-games due to injury this season, the highest total in the Western Conference and the third most in the league behind the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. With nine additional man-games lost tonight, Colorado has now surpassed last season’s total (352).