The siren had sounded, the cheers lingered, and Lars Eller skated out as first star of the night. He tossed pucks into the stands, but he remained longer than most would, and he applauded the adoring and delighted fans. He smiled and clapped again, and when he finally left the ice, in the corridor he jumped in the air.
Lars Eller had a right to smile and linger and jump. Because after all, the Dane, who is getting better and better, scored four times in his team’s dynamic 7-3 win.
Lars Eller is the most popular person in Montreal right now. Four goals, with the fourth being a fancy spin around on a penalty shot (video at bottom). For one game at least, it was as if we had Guy Lafleur back. How we long for our heroes being heroic.
A huge win for the hometown boys, it goes without saying. A strict thrashing of the Winnipeg Jets. There hasn’t been a lot to cheer about this season, but on this night, it was like the sun came out. A great night for the team and its fans. Something to build on, something to become excited about and cheer and to bring about hope. It was what the doctor ordered, this feel-good Habs story, and now we need this doctor to order some more.
Eller and linemates Andrei Kostitsyn and Travis Moen were as dangerous as can be. Moen contributed three assists, Kostitsyn two, and Kostitsyn’s stick handling and sharp pass on Eller’s third goal was, as they said on TV, a highlight reel assist. And it was a beautiful cross-ice pass to Eller that sent him in when he was hauled down and awarded the penalty shot.
Kostitsyn was named second star and well-deserved, and Erik Cole was the night’s third star, also well-deserved as he added two assists and skated miles.
A big win, maybe the beginning of a much better second half than first. We can only hope. Tonight, though, we can savour this and see all kinds of good that happened on Bell Centre ice. It’s one big step.
Still have to get that power play going, though.
Josh Gorges, Tomas Kaberle, and Mike Cammalleri also bulged the twine.
Montreal scored four times in the third period to break open a 3-2 lead. Eller’s penalty shot had made it 7-2 before the Jets scored their third.
Shots on goal – Montreal 31, Jets 27.
Next up – Saturday, when Tampa Bay hopefully shows up.
Mike Johnson on TSN said that Alexei Emelin is fast gaining a reputation around the league as deceivingly strong and a devastating hitter. But we already knew that.
Here’s the sensational Eller penalty shot.
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