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NHL Montreal Canadiens

Lars Eller Shines In Montreal Canadiens’ Opening Night Loss

Lars Eller

Eric Bolte – USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens opened the 2013-14 season with a 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the game should have left them with a lot of optimism for the rest of the season. Center Lars Eller was involved in all three Canadiens goals, and looks ready to break out after putting up a career high 30 points last season. He started the season on a line with young stars Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher, which could end up being one of the most lethal third line combinations in the Eastern Conference.

A scary moment with enforcer George Parros falling face first to the ice during a third period fight and suffering a concussion put a damper on the evening, and Carey Price’s 34-save effort in goal might have been enough to get the win on any other night. Eller scored in the first period with assists from Galchenyuk and Raphael Diaz, then set up Gallagher for a goal that put his team up 2-1. A third period goal from Eller closed the gap to 4-3, but that was the way the night would end. The lockout-shortened 2013 season was Eller’s third with the Canadiens, and his eight goals were the most in his career despite only playing in 46 games. The St. Louis Blues selected the Danish forward with the 13th overall pick in the 2007 draft, but was dealt to Montreal as part of the trade for goaltender Jaroslav Halak in 2010. That deal continues to look like one that has worked out well for both teams, and Eller looks to be on his way to a breakout season, and could even be considered a sleeper pick in deeper fantasy leagues.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL featured columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.