OReilly in COVID protocol, out at least four games for Blues

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MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. — Ryan O’Reilly and Brandon Saad were each placed on the non-roster NHL COVID protocol list by the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

O’Reilly, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, will miss at least the next four games after experiencing symptoms. Saad, who tested positive on Oct. 21, will miss at least the next two games.

Saad has missed the past two games and will not play against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; BSMW, ALT, ESPN+, NHL LIVE) or against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. The forward has scored two points (one goal, one assist) in three games this season,

O’Reilly will also not play at Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 3 or at the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 4. The earliest he can return to the lineup is Nov. 7 at the Anaheim Ducks. The center has scored five points (two goals, three assists) in five games.

“It’s obviously not very good news for O’Reilly, his health and the team for sure,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “It’s an obstacle that we’re going to have to deal with just like we had to with Saad.

“… I found out when I got to the rink. Obviously it’s upsetting and surprising at the same time, but it’s not something that we want to hear, that’s for sure. Again, we’ll deal with it. O’Reilly’s out at least 10 days, I believe. I’m just not sure on Saad yet when he’s back. It’s getting close though.”

Video: LAK@STL: O’Reilly scores PPG in 2nd period

O’Reilly ranked second on the Blues in points last season (54) and first in 2019-20 (61) and 2018-19 (77). He leads them in face-off winning percentage (66.4) this season and plays in all situations. O’Reilly has played in 214 straight regular-season games for St. Louis since he was acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres on July 1, 2018. 

“It’s a challenge, but we have good depth here,” Berube said. “Everybody is just going to have to step up and the next guy up, that attitude and go from there. You can’t overthink it. It is what it is and the best way to deal with it is to move on, wait for these guys to get healthy and get back but in the meantime, go play hockey.”

The Blues (5-0-0) set a team record for most consecutive wins to start a season after defeating the Kings 3-0 on Monday.

“Yeah, it’s frustrating,” defenseman Robert Bortuzzo said. “A little bit of a surprise but these things have been popping up for the last couple of years. [O’Reilly] is obviously a big hole for us but hopefully we can lean on some of our depth here, some guys can step up. Like I said, just take it in stride and take that business approach to all this.”

Forward Dakota Joshua was recalled from Springfield of the American Hockey League. He has one assist in five games this season.

“It’s definitely tough, but it’s part of everything that’s going on with COVID,” forward Jordan Kyrou said. “We’ve just got to stick together as a group and we’ve just got to battle through it. It’s just how life is right now. It’s just an obstacle we’ve got to get through. We’re going to get through it as a team.”

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