Lars Eller became the Washington Capitals hero over the summer. It was his sixth time skating in the playoffs – his second time for the Capitals. Those 50 previous games must have prepared him for the pressure cooker the Caps were in as they played one hard game after another. Eller just kept coming back for more.
You asked us for a photo gallery of our best Lars Eller photos. We are happy to oblige and add a little bit about why Capitals fans have come to admire this quiet man from Denmark.
Lars came to the Capitals by way of trade with the Montreal Canadiens for a second round pick in 2017 and 2018. He played as a left wing but also had the versatility to play center. He had a reputation for being great on the penalty kill for the Habs, a skill the Caps could make good use of in the coming seasons. He played six seasons in Montreal, mostly on the third line. Prior to coming to Washington, Eller made appearances in 37 playoff games recording 18 points; six of them goals.
From his first goal in game three of the first round, Eller made it clear that he was there to contribute to the win. 17 April he achieved his first game winning goal for the team. It was the infusion the team needed. He shot another puck into the net for game seven Before the playoffs were over, he would record seven goals and 11 assists – a career high for him. They weren’t just ordinary goals either. Three of them were game winning goals, which is a pretty impressive statistic. Oh and of course one won the whole season for the Capitals and forever locked his name in the annals of Capitals history.
Something big happened for Eller when the Capitals entered into the third round of the playoffs, pushing past the Pittsburgh Penguins. He received his golden opportunity stepping up to fill in for Nicklas Backstrom who was nursing a fractured finger. On 11 May he scored his fourth post season goal against the Lightning. In game two of the series, he notched his fifth goal, this time a tie-breaking game-winning goal. He wasn’t done; he went on to provide helpers on three more goals in games three, five and seven to help the Capitals become the Metro Division champions and jump into the final round of the playoffs.
In the final round Lars Eller skated into legacy land. There was a goal and two assists in game two. That wasn’t really what mattered though. Around the world fans watched the Las Vegas Knights draw their sword against the determined Washington Capitals in thee first battle, taking game one. The Red Shirts came back in game two with Eller scoring the first goal followed by Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Orpik in which he had the helper point. Returning to home ice, the Capitals remained victorious for two games in front of fans who flooded the streets and the arena waving the victory flag.
The real magic happened 12 minutes 23 seconds into the third period of game five in Las Vegas. “Save Rebound Score, It’s Eller It’s 4 to 3 CAPITALS!” Those words will be in the memory banks of Caps fans for years to come!!
Lars Eller became the first Capital to win them the Stanley Cup and the first player from Denmark to have his name engraved on the Cup. Now that is legacy!!
What can we expect from Eller this coming season? As we watch him preparing at the impromptu pre-training camp camp at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, it is clear that he is pushing himself to increase his speed and put himself in the position to takeaway the ice in the corners. He was working with John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov who put the pressure on him as he skated. Working with Carlson will help him refine the defensive play as a two-way player. We expect to see him work more to adjust his body position as a depth player.
Some thought that Lars Eller should have received the Conn Smythe award for the most valuable player in the playoffs because of his stupendous contribution. However, the award could only have gone to the captain who had the staying power to lead the team. It is just one more reason to go back-to-back so he can claim it next time!
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) September 3, 2018