MONTREAL — Victor Mete and Nick Suzuki each scored their first NHL goals to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a convincing 4-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
Making his fourth straight start in goal, Carey Price stopped all 18 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season for Montreal (3-2-2).
Joel Armia and Brendan Gallagher also scored. Nick Cousins earned an assist in his Canadiens debut.
Alex Stalock gave up four goals on 32 shots in his second start for the visiting Wild (1-6-0), who are last in the Western Conference.
The Canadiens defeated Minnesota for the first time since Nov. 8, 2014, snapping a streak of nine straight losses.
Montreal was all over a considerably slower Wild side for much of the encounter and that speed paid off early.
Finding the back of the net was a long time coming for Mete, who was playing his 127th NHL game since making his debut in 2017.
The 21-year-old Mete found acres of space in the slot, took a backhand pass from Cousins from behind the net and beat Stalock glove side with 5:23 to play in the opening period.
That ended the longest goal drought to start a career in Canadiens franchise history, a record previously held by Mike Komisarek (122 games). The Bell Centre erupted in a deafening cheer when Mete’s goal was announced.
It was the first of three goals for the Canadiens in a 4:46 span to end the first period.
Armia made it 2-0 with a 5-on-3 goal at 17:32 on a pass from Jonathan Drouin at the side of the net. Armia leads Montreal with four goals this season.
Wanting to share the spotlight with Mete, Suzuki then scored his first NHL goal with 37 seconds remaining in the period. A whiffed shot from Jeff Petry landed right on Suzuki’s backhand before Stalock could cover his right post.
Mete and Suzuki are the first Canadiens teammates to score their first NHL goals in the same game since 2005, when Chris Higgins and Alexander Perezhogin scored against the New York Rangers.
Gallagher put a fourth past Stalock at 12:40 of the third period after intercepting an ill-advised pass from Matt Dumba in the offensive zone.
The Wild have a chance at redemption when Montreal travels to Minnesota for the rematch on Sunday.
Montreal improved to 2-2-0 at home this season. … Petry and Max Domi extended their point streaks to four games. … Defenceman Cale Fleury was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last four games.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2019.
Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press