It sounded like an overtime goal in the playoffs. The Bell Centre on Thursday night erupted in a deafening roar when defenseman Victor Mete scored his first NHL goal in his 127th game.
Montreal went on to beat the Minnesota Wild 4-0, with Nick Suzuki also scoring his first NHL goal and Carey Price making 17 saves for his first shutout of the season and 45th overall.
“It feels good to finally get that out of the way,” Mete said. “That was pretty cool. The crowd was going pretty nuts. It was ear-piercing.”
“Everybody’s wanted me to score for quite a while, so to see everyone get as excited as they did, it’s pretty special. It means a lot,” he added.
He ended the longest goal drought to start a career in Canadiens history, a mark previously held by Mike Komisarek at 122 games. It also ended the longest active drought in the league.
“The fans saw him score his first goal and they made sure to show him their support,” coach Claude Julien said. “No doubt, it’s going to be engraved in his mind — definitely a special night for him.”
Mete’s goal was the first of three for Montreal in a 4 minute, 46 second span in the first period.
The 21-year-old found space in the slot, took a backhand pass from Nick Cousins from behind the net and beat Alex Stalock glove side with 5 minutes, 23 seconds left in the period.
“I heard Mete yell for it, so I just kind of whipped it out front and he was nice enough to bury it,” said Cousins, who was making his Canadiens debut. “I didn’t know it was his first goal. That’s exciting for him.”
“I like my steak medium rare. We’ll have to figure that out tomorrow for dinner. He’s buying for sure,” Cousins added.
Joel Armia and Brendan Gallagher also scored to help Montreal improve to 3-2-2.
Stalock stopped 28 shots for the reeling Wild. They dropped to 1-6-0.
Armia connected on a five-on-three power play with 2 minutes, 28 seconds left in the first. He leads Montreal with four goals.
Suzuki scored with 37 seconds remaining in the period. A whiffed shot from Jeff Petry landed right on Suzuki’s backhand before Stalock could cover the right post.
Gallagher put a fourth past Stalock at 12 minutes, 40 seconds of the third period.
In other results, it was:
‧ Devils 5, Rangers 2
‧ Lightning 4, Bruins 3 SO
‧ Canucks 4, Blues 3 SO
‧ Islanders 3, Jets 1
‧ Flames 5, Red Wings 1
‧ Coyotes 5, Predators 2
‧ Golden Knights 3, Senators 2 SO
‧ Sabres 3, Kings 0
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