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Eller's career night propels Habs past Jets

Jan 5, 2012 - 4:02 AM
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Lars Eller doubled his goal total for the season in a one night, registering his first career four-goal game in Montreal's resounding 7-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell Centre.

Eller, who was also charitable, picking up one assist, had four goals in his first 36 games this season. He capped off his performance Wednesday with a dazzling, spin-o-rama penalty-shot goal.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, getting four goals. It was incredible," Eller said. "I thank my teammates, like Travis (Moen) and Andrei (Kostitsyn), who did an amazing job, and I was in the right place at the right time."

Michael Cammalleri, Josh Gorges and Tomas Kaberle also scored for Montreal, which earned just its second win in its last nine games.

Moen set up three of the Canadiens' goals, while Carey Price turned away 24 Winnipeg shots.

Blake Wheeler had a goal and an assist for the Jets, who were looking to match a season high with a fourth consecutive win.

Ondrej Pavelec surrendered six Montreal goals on 24 shots before he was replaced by Chris Mason, who made six saves in relief.

"We weren't prepared to do what we had done in the past month and it showed," said Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel. The Jets posted a 10-3-1 record in December.

Ahead 3-2, Montreal pulled away in the third period by netting three goals in a span of 50 seconds.

Eller pumped home his second goal off a feed from Moen at 2:41. After Cammalleri lit the lamp on a friendly carom off a Winnipeg player at 3:03, Eller completed the hat trick at 3:31.

Kostitsyn did most of the labor, protecting the puck as he skated around the Jets' zone before finding Eller alone at the right side of the net for an easy tap-in.

The former first-round pick struck again at the 11-minute mark after being hooked on a breakaway.

Winnipeg got a goal from Andrew Ladd a little over two minutes later.

The Jets' Tim Stapleton opened the scoring 3:41 after the game's opening faceoff, but Montreal went ahead with two goals in 43 seconds later in the first period.

Gorges, the recipient of a six-year contract extension on New Year's Day, watched as his point shot located the back of the net for the tying goal. Then, off a turnover in the Winnipeg zone, Eller used a Jets defender as a screen and wristed the puck past Pavelec at 14:07.

The Canadiens' lead grew to 3-1 when Kaberle ended a 48-game goalless drought, taking a pass from Moen and beating Pavelec along the ice from the left circle at 5:32 of the second period.

Winnipeg responded on a power play, however, as an uncovered Wheeler moved in front of Price and tipped Zach Bogosian's point shot with 2:09 to play in the second.

Game Notes

Montreal last hosted the Jets on January 27, 1996, a 4-1 Canadiens victory...Kostitsyn and teammate Erik Cole both had two assists...Wheeler has four goals and five assists during his six-game point streak.