Eller's stock rising in Montreal

Canadiens forward Lars Eller throws a puck to the crowd after facing the Jets at the Bell Centre in...

Canadiens forward Lars Eller throws a puck to the crowd after facing the Jets at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Que., Jan. 4, 2012. (CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/Reuters)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:56 PM ET

MONTREAL - Lars Eller went from a healthy scratch to a four-goal game to shutdown guy against the NHL's leading scorer.

Eller, "the other guy" in the trade that sent 2010 playoff hero Jaroslav Halak from the Habs to the St. Louis Blues, is still a work in progress. Just what the 22-year-old will be in the NHL remains to be seen, but after sitting out in Winnipeg Dec. 22, Eller has been getting more ice time lately.

He only topped 18 minutes under previous coach Jacques Martin a couple of times, but with Randy Cunneyworth calling the shots, Eller has played more than 19 minutes three times -- including 20 minutes the last time out -- in the last five games.

Cunnyworth used Eller on a line with Andrei Kostitsyn and Travis Moen against NHL-leading goalscorer Steven Stamkos Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"Lars was a good player before we sat him," Cunneyworth said, "and he was a good player after we sat him. He takes pride in his shutdown game, and he'll have a lot of that responsibility against St. Louis."

Eller's four-goal game against the Jets last week made for one of the most entertaining nights at the Bell Centre. His 360-degree move on his penalty shot to score has been dubbed the "Eller-copter."

Not bad.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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