And in the 127th game...
Victor Mete entered his third NHL season still looking for his first career goal, but in his 127th game with the Habs, he finally lit the lamp.
Video: MIN@MTL: Mete buries one-timer for first career goal
Needless to say, the Bell Centre went crazy in celebration of the young defender.
"It was pretty cool; the crowd was going pretty nuts. It was ear-piercing," recounted Mete. "It was pretty cool to finally score."
Mete pinched in from the point to accept a pass from forward Nick Cousins - playing his first game as a Hab - but according to Cousins, the play almost never happened at all.
"Actually, I almost changed going up ice, but Tommy [Nate Thompson] made a nice play just on the forecheck and you know, we were kind of assuming that they were going to go D to D, so I read it and I actually heard 'Meat' yell for it, so I just whipped it out front and he actually was nice enough to bury it," described Cousins, who owns 31 goals and 42 assists in 259 career games with the Habs, Philadelphia Flyers, and Arizona Coyotes. "It's funny, though, I didn't know it was his first goal. It's exciting for him."
Upon realizing that he'd contributed in such a momentous way for Mete, Cousins quickly decided he'd need to cash in on the favor and get a tasty dinner on the defenseman's dime in return.
"Hopefully. I like my steak medium rare," he cracked. "We'll have to figure that out in St. Louis tomorrow for a nice dinner."
All joking aside, to a man the Habs were all thrilled that Mete finally buried the puck and got the monkey off his back - perhaps no one more than his mentor and partner on the blue line, captain Shea Weber.
"He's had so many chances over the last couple of years, it was bound to go in at some point," affirmed Weber, who earned an assist on Joel Armia's power play marker shortly after the Mete goal. "Finally it's in, so the floodgates are open for him. We'll see where he goes now.
"Everyone in here is ecstatic for him. Zuke [Nick Suzuki] too. He's obviously excited to score his first goal; it's a nice one on the backdoor there. A couple of guys who are hopefully going to get a lot more for us here and help us down the season stretch."
Suzuki also joins the club
As Weber alluded to it, Mete wasn't the only Hab to remove the donut from the goals column on his stats sheet, as rookie Nick Suzuki padded Montreal's lead in the final minute of the opening frame to make it 3-0 for the home squad.
Suzuki put himself in perfect position to recover Jeff Petry's redirected slapshot and backhanded it past Wild netminder Alex Stalock.
"I was just trying to get it deep for Domes [Max Domi] because he was flying in. He made a great play to get around the net and stretch their box out and when Petey shot it, I was just trying to go hard to the net for a rebound," described Suzuki. "It just kind of popped right onto my stick. It was a nice bounce for me."
Video: MIN@MTL: Suzuki nets backhand for first NHL goal
With the tally, Suzuki and Mete became the first Canadiens teammates to both score their first goals in the same game since since Chris Higgins and Alexander Perezhogin on October 6, 2005 at NYR, and the 12th set of Habs to do so all-time.
That said, the 20-year-old forward didn't feel like either player stole the moment from the other.
"We're both happy for [each other]. When I saw he scored, I was going nuts," recalled Suzuki. "It's been a while for him and I'm just starting, so hopefully we can both score some more goals."
Shutout No. 45 for Price
Perhaps a little lost in all the goal celebrations was the fact that goaltender Carey Price made 17 saves to earn his first shutout of the season and the 45th of his career, and the veteran netminder attributed the result to his team tightening up the defensive side of their game.
"We all knew that we can play better defensively," admitted Price, who now sits one shutout away from tying Ken Dryden for third all-time on the Canadiens. "I thought tonight we were reloading, getting into shot lanes, and doing all the right things."
Video: MIN@MTL: Price gets across to complete pair of saves
In Weber's view, Mete didn't just offer up his offensive production on this night; the captain believes the Woodbridge, ON rearguard was also an important part of his group's improved work in their own zone.
"He was really good. He was quick, especially when guys first entered the zone. He was good at shutting the play down quickly, which led to little chips or dumps, which led to transition for us," praised Weber of Mete, who saw 17:10 of ice time, registering three shots, one hit, and one blocked shot. "He used his skating really well tonight to cut the plays off early, and we didn't have to chase the puck a lot."
The Canadiens practice at the Bell Sports Complex on Friday morning before departing for St. Louis. They face the Blues on Saturday afternoon and have a rematch with the Wild set for Sunday in Minnesota.