Capitals: Lars Eller is the real Tiger King

Lars Eller, Washington Capitals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Lars Eller, Washington Capitals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Apologies to Joe Exotic. The real Tiger King is Lars Eller, center of the Washington Capitals.

Washington Capitals fans know the goal song that rings on for a reason when Lars Eller scores.

It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rival. And he last known survivor stalks his prey in the night and he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger.

Yes I just typed out lyrics for Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, again though, for good reason. It’s because Lars Eller is the real Tiger King.

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Eller is arguably the most clutch player in Caps history and that was displayed in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. With his team down 0-2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, it was Eller’s gritty deflection goal that kept the Capitals season alive.

Several weeks later, Eller was at it again. On a loose puck right behind Marc-Andre Fleury on a shot from Brett Connolly, Eller was there at the right place at the right time to pound the puck in for the game-winning goal to help the Caps win their first Stanley Cup.

Eller is one of the best third line centers in the league and his numbers have gotten better since coming to Washington. He scored 12 goals and added 13 assists for 25 points in 2016-17, his first season.

The next year Eller added a career-high 18 goals along with 20 assists for 38 points. Then that spring came those clutch goals. Eller finished with a total of seven that year.

Eller added 13 goals and 23 assists for 36 points last season while he was even better this season before the pause. Eller had 16 goals and 23 assists for 39 points, a strong possibility he could have had his first ever 20-goal season. Eller has scored 59 total goals and added 79 assists all while in a Capitals sweater.

Eller was given the nickname “Tiger” by his Capitals teammates after a team building activity a few seasons ago. He told Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post (subscription required) that he didn’t want to reveal anything more than that in a story a couple years ago.

“That’s all I have to say about Tiger,” Eller said. “Just Tiger.”

After winning the Cup, he explained more in training camp.

“It was a Tony Robbins seminar we had with the team,” Eller explained. “I was up on stage, I think we had to choose some personal, like a spiritual animal or something. I yelled out ‘tiger’ and from taht day on, it was just. The guys were loving it. It’s been ‘Tiger’ from that day.”

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Eller is the real Tiger King and we can’t wait to see more clutch moments from him when hockey starts back up again.