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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
Lars Eller had a dream evening, scoring four goals and five points en route to a 7-3 rout of the visiting Winnipeg Jets. In fact, Eller’s entire line was stellar, as he, Travis Moen and Andrei Kostitsyn combined for 10 points.
Although the Habs conceded the first goal as Tim Stapleton netted a rebound past Carey Price, the home team bounced back ten minutes later, scoring twice within 43 seconds. Josh Gorges had a point shot deflect off a skate while Lars Eller whistled a screen shot past Ondrej Pavelec.
The two Canadiens goal also revealed something rather unexpected.
After being retired following the 2004-05 lock out, management decided to bring back the old Canadiens goal song.
And, as it turned out, that song was heard often throughout the contest
Montreal started the second frame tentatively, but eventually found their legs and jumped to a two goal lead thanks to an unexpected source: Tomas Kaberle.
After Travis Moen busted through the neutral zone, the Czech blueliner capitalized on the ensuing two-on-one chance, scoring his first goal as a Montreal Canadien. Going back to last season, Kaberle’s goal scoring drought had extended to 73 games.
The Winnipeg Jets managed to inch within one before the end of the frame. On a powerplay, an uncovered Blake Wheeler tipped a Zach Bogosian slapshot into the Canadiens’ net.
With a late tally for the Jets, many fans must have feared another late game collapse on the horizon.
Evidently, such a collapse never materialized.
Rather, Montreal opened the floodgates in the third period, potting three goals in a 50 second span and four in the frame.
Lars Eller profited from a gorgeous passing play with his linemates Travis Moen and Andrei Kostitsyn. Then, Mike Cammalleri got a lucky bounce as he saw a cross-crease pass deflect into the net. The Danish centre eventually completed his hat trick, capitalizing on a wonderful feed from Andrei Kostitsyn, who dangled past the Winnipeg defence before feeding Eller.
To cap off a splendid performance, Eller was awarded a penalty shot midway through the frame. And he certainly did not disappoint.
Brimming with confidence, the Danish centre executed a perfect spin-o-rama in close and tucked the puck in on his backhand.
Andrew Ladd wrapped up the scoring, providing the Jets with their third goal of the evening. Carey Price made 24 saves in the victory. Ondrej Pavelec, who allowed six goals on 24 shots, was pulled after the sixth goal. Chris Mason made six saves in a relief effort.
HW 3 Stars
First Star - Lars Eller Four goals, one assist. No other description required.
Statline: 4 G, 1 A, +4, 5 shots, 15:50 TOI
Second Star – Travis Moen Travis Moen finished the evening with three assists, including two superb passes leading to goals, and had a few decent scoring chances of his own. Beyond that, he played a physical game and was a consistent net front presence
Statline: 0 G, 3 A, +3, 2 shots, 1 blocked shot, 4 hits, 14:59 TOI
Third Star – Andrei Kostitsyn AK46 did not entirely get into gear until the third period, but when he did, it was something special. Almost singlehandedly manufacturing Lars Eller’s third goal, he was a force to be reckoned with late in the game. Unfortunately, like in recent contests, he did not utilize his shot with great regularity.