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Lars Eller's play was the lone bright spot against the Flames

After the game Michel Therrien was asked if there were any positives at all to take from the loss to Calgary, he said no. He was wrong.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

It's tough to say whether Lars Eller slotting in on Tomas Plekanec going into the game against the Calgary Flames was a promotion to a better line, or a demotion away from playing center, but my best guess is that he was a bit of an afterthought while the real goal was getting Alex Galchenyuk to play center.

Whatever the intention, it only lasted one period, and Eller only played 11.35 minutes at even strength against the Flames, the fifth least among all 18 skaters. What he did in those minutes though, was extremely impressive, and I don't mean the goal he scored.

While Lars Eller was on the ice against the Flames, the Canadiens have up a measly two shot attempts against at even strength, just two. As you can imagine, that led to Eller leading all Habs players in Corsi for percentage with 78% of shot attempts being controlled by Montreal while he was on the ice, but that's not the truly impressive part. What's impressive is that while Eller was on, the Canadiens conceded shot attempts, not shots, but shot attempts, at a rate of just 10.6 against per 60 minutes played. While Eller was off the ice, they conceded shot attempts at a rate of 63.7 against per 60 minutes played.

Essentially, Eller was an absolute wizard defensively in a game where almost the entire team was terrible, scored a goal, and still played fewer minutes than Dale Weise.

Who's really struggling?

While a lot has been made of Lars Eller's offensive struggles this season, his goal against the Flames has brought him up to three points five-vs-five, just one fewer than David Desharnais, in about 21 fewer minutes of ice time, and while playing with inferior teammates.

It's getting tougher and tougher to justify the Eller hate in the media, just look at the two players side by side.

eller vs desharnais

Through 12 games, Eller has essentially put up the same or close to the same production, nearly the exact same rate of possession, while playing far tougher minutes, with lesser teammates, and far less opportunity to create offense in the first place.

Christopher Boucher broke down Eller's season in even more detail recently, and it's about time the Dane gets some respect from the fanbase.