NHL Colorado Avalanche

Ryan O’Reilly’s Return Not Enough To Get Colorado Avalanche Past Columbus Blue Jackets

Colorado Avalanche Ryan O'Reilly

Ron Chenoy – USA TODAY Sports

Ryan O’Reilly made his 2013 season debut for the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday, but his return was not enough to spark the team’s offense past the Columbus Blue Jackets. O’Reilly saw almost six minutes of ice time, including two minutes on the power play, but  failed to register a shot on goal.

P.A. Parenteau got the lone goal for the Avalanche, his ninth of the season. For now, O’Reilly is playing with John Mitchell and Milan Hejduk on the third line, but it would make sense to move him to the second line with Gabriel Landeskog and David Jones once he gets acclimated. The Avalanche failed to convert on two power play attempts, and did little to support a solid performance from goaltender Semyon Varlamov. Colorado’s penalty kill surrendered two goals and continues to be one of the team’s biggest weaknesses. Hopefully O’Reilly’s return can get the offense back on track, as few teams are going to win games when they only manage 19 shots on goal.

O’Reilly’s contract holdout ended this week after the Avalanche matched an offer made to him by the Calgary Flames. He scored 18 goals and added 37 assists for the Avalanche last season, more than double his point total in either of his first two seasons.

The Avalanche have now lost four of their last five games but have managed five points in that stretch. They face three tough games this week, traveling to face the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday and the league-leading Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday before hosting the Blackhawks on Friday.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL blogger for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JKatje or add him to you network on Google.