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Conn Smythe Trophy

O'Reilly wins Conn Smythe Trophy for Blues

Center finishes tied for NHL scoring lead in Stanley Cup Playoffs, ends on four-game goal streak in Final

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

O'Reilly wins Conn Smythe Trophy

STL@BOS, Gm7: O'Reilly receives Conn Smythe Trophy

Cup Final, Gm7: For his outstanding performance in the playoffs, Commissioner Gary Bettman awards the Conn Smythe Trophy to Ryan O'Reilly

  • 02:00 •

BOSTON -- Ryan O'Reilly sat at the press conference podium, his skates still on, the Conn Smythe Trophy sitting directly to his right.

The St. Louis Blues center stared at it. He admired it. He couldn't believe he won it.

"It's tough to describe," O'Reilly said. "Most of these guys on here I pretended I was as a kid, and now to be on there with them, it's an incredible feeling."

O'Reilly won the Conn Smythe Trophy, voted MVP of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, after helping the Blues defeat the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 7 of the Cup Final on Wednesday for their first championship since entering the NHL in 1967-68.

O'Reilly, who was acquired in a trade from the Buffalo Sabres on July 1, 2018, finished tied with Bruins forward Brad Marchand for the NHL playoff lead with 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 26 games after he led the Blues in the regular season with 77 points (28 goals, 49 assists).

Video: O'Reilly's journey to his first Conn Smythe Trophy

He scored five times during a four-game goal streak in Games 4-7 of the Cup Final, becoming the first player to score in four straight Cup Final games since Wayne Gretzky had seven goals for the Edmonton Oilers in Games 2-5 against the Philadelphia Flyers in 1985.

O'Reilly scored two goals in Game 4, including the game-winner in a 4-2 victory. He scored the first goal in Game 5, a 2-1 win. He had the only Blues goal in a 5-1 loss in Game 6. He scored the first goal in Game 7.

He ended the series on a six-game point streak (five goals, four assists), the longest in the Cup Final since Mark Messier had at least one point in six straight for the New York Rangers against the Vancouver Canucks in 1994.

"He's an absolutely stud," Blues center Brayden Schenn said. "He's a beast, all playoffs. Does it in both ends. Selke [Trophy] winner, chances are, Conn Smythe winner, Stanley Cup champion all in one year. The guy is an absolute beast."

O'Reilly received 13 of 18 first-place votes from a panel of Professional Hockey Writers' Association members. Blues goalie Jordan Binnington received the other five first-place votes to finish second, and Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was third.

O'Reilly, who is a finalist for the Selke as the best defensive forward in the NHL, did it while playing with a cracked rib, an injury he sustained in the Western Conference First Round against the Winnipeg Jets, his father, Brian O'Reilly, said.

"He had to really adjust his game," Brian O'Reilly said. "He stayed in it and found a way to do it. They had great people working on him, and it took him a bit to play through the pain and find a different way to do things that he would normally do, which again, he never complained about."

 

[RELATED: Stanley Cup Final coverage | Maroon savors winning Cup with hometown Blues]

 

O'Reilly said the injury was manageable until he got hit in the conference final against the San Jose Sharks. It created a challenge for him on face-offs in particular, but he said his adrenaline took over and he didn't notice the injury.

"That guy is a legend," Blues goalie Jordan Binnington said. "He's an incredible player, an incredible teammate. You can't say enough positive things about him."

O'Reilly came to the Blues from the Sabres, who finished last in the NHL in 2017-18 with 62 points. He took the brunt of the blame and talked about how the losing took away his passion for winning, how he was playing just to get by.

He had 61 points (24 goals, 37 assists) in 81 games.

The trade to St. Louis reignited him. He talked about winning the Stanley Cup in his first conversation with Blues general manager Doug Armstrong following the trade.

"I was so amped up and I said, 'Let's go win a Cup,'" O'Reilly recalled.

Video: O'Reilly on winning the Stanley Cup

The Blues were last in the NHL on Jan. 3. O'Reilly, despite a St. Louis-high 35 points (15 goals, 20 assists) through 37 games, was wondering if he was the problem, if he was the reason losing was following him around the NHL from team to team to team.

"He's always been this way," Brian O'Reilly said. "He just takes it all on. … If the team loses, he takes it personally."

And if the team wins, he's usually a big part of it.

The Blues went 30-10-5 from Jan. 3 to the end of the regular season with O'Reilly scoring 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists), second on the team in that stretch behind Vladimir Tarasenko's 46 (22 goals, 24 assists).

They went 16-10 in the playoffs with O'Reilly leading the way. 

"Looking at his play all year long, his worth ethic and his production for us all year and then throughout the playoffs, he was just a relentless hockey player for a long time," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "Never quits. Such a smart two-way player. He's a special player."

Video: STL@BOS, Gm7: O'Reilly on Conn Smythe, Stanley Cup

Before O'Reilly got to the podium with the Conn Smythe Trophy, he waited on the ice by the Zamboni doors for his father and mother, Bonnie, to join the celebration.

They made their way, and Ryan embraced them in a hug that was years in the making.

Brian called it a "Dad, we did this, we did it" hug.

"It was really emotional," O'Reilly said, his voice cracking as he held back his tears. "I wouldn't be in the NHL having this as a job if it wasn't for them and all this stuff that they put in. It was very emotional. I couldn't stop thanking them for putting their lives aside for us, for the kids, and doing whatever we needed to do. I can't thank them enough."

His name on the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy should suffice.

"You pinch yourself when you're here," Brian O'Reilly said. "I'm still having a hard time. Then to win the Conn Smythe, I'm going 'Oh my lord, that's incredible.'"

Tweet from @ThePHWA: A voter-by-voter look at how Ryan O'Reilly won the Conn Smythe Trophy: https://t.co/0qqk2QtFfj

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