EditorsNote: Clarified Wild record in final graf; Other minor tweaks
Victor Mete and Nick Suzuki scored their first NHL goals as the host Montreal Canadiens tallied three times in the first period and cruised to a 4-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
Montreal goalie Carey Price needed to make just 17 saves to collect his first shutout of the season and 45th of his career.
Mete’s goal came at 14:37 of the first period as he opened the scoring in his 127th NHL game. Nick Cousins intercepted a soft clearing attempt and sent a pass to the high slot for the hard-charging Mete to bury for his memorable marker. The goal was greeted by a thunderous ovation from the fans while Mete was mobbed by his teammates.
Joel Armia doubled the Montreal lead with a power-play goal at 17:32 of the opening frame. While Montreal was enjoying a five-on-three advantage, Armia was parked at the doorstep when Jonathan Drouin fired a perfect cross-crease pass for him to bury for his fourth of the season.
Then, Suzuki stepped up for his magical moment in his seventh NHL contest. Jeff Petry’s point shot was partially blocked, but the puck ricocheted to Suzuki at the side of the cage and the 2017 Vegas Golden Knights’ first-round draft pick acquired via trade lifted a backhand into the net with 37 seconds remaining before the intermission.
While the Canadiens went into a defensive shell in the third period to preserve the shutout, Brendan Gallagher rounded out the scoring midway through the final frame, taking advantage of a Matt Dumba giveaway to net his third goal of the season.
The Wild went into the game without forward Victor Rask. He suffered a lower-body injury in the club’s previous game, believed to have been suffered when blocking a shot. Minnesota is also without forward Mats Zuccarello.
The Wild’s injury list may have grown, too, with Joel Eriksson Ek leaving the game early in the second period after blocking a couple of blasts by Montreal captain Shea Weber.
Alex Stalock stopped 29 shots for the Wild, who have one victory in seven games this season (1-6-0).
—Field Level Media