Updated October 31, 2019 - 9:55 pm
Montreal Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki was asked an important question by teammate Tomas Tatar before their game Thursday night against the Golden Knights.
Would the two former Knights, who played a combined 20 regular-season games for the franchise, all by Tatar, get a video tribute at T-Mobile Arena?
Suzuki’s response: “We probably won’t.”
He was right.
Suzuki’s most important impact on the Knights’ organization came away from the ice. The team’s second-ever draft pick was part of the trade that brought Max Pacioretty to Las Vegas. Suzuki, Tatar and a 2019 second-round pick were sent to the Canadiens in September 2018 for Montreal’s captain.
Suzuki, the 13th overall pick in 2017, still said it was “definitely cool” to play against the Knights in his 13th NHL game.
“They’re always going to be the team that drafted me,” he said before Montreal’s 5-4 overtime victory. “I was always thankful for that. They gave me the opportunity to be drafted in the first round.”
Suzuki, 20, had an impressive season in junior hockey after being traded and broke training camp with the Canadiens this fall. He has five points (three goals, two assists) in 13 games.
Montreal coach Claude Julien said the rookie “keeps getting better all the time.”
Suzuki admitted he wanted to showcase that improvement a little and “put on a good show” against the Knights. He also wanted to reconnect with his “really good buddy” Cody Glass. They were first-round picks by the Knights in 2017 (Glass went No. 6 overall), played for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in December and January and made their debuts this fall.
They have stayed in contact since they learned they were starting the season in the NHL, Suzuki said.
Thursday was a chance for them to meet in person again, even though right wing Alex Tuch stressed to Glass before the game: “No friends out there tonight.”
“No chirps, (we’re) just being friendly with each other,” Glass said before the game. “No friends out there, but obviously after the game, it’ll be nice to see him again.”
Thursday was the second of three straight games in which the Knights’ opponent played back to back. The Anaheim Ducks played Saturday in Colorado before traveling to Las Vegas for a game Sunday. The Canadiens faced the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday. And the Winnipeg Jets play the San Jose Sharks on Friday before meeting the Knights on Saturday.
But Knights coach Gerard Gallant said that doesn’t give his team an advantage.
“I always say when we’re on the road playing back to back, a lot of our second games are better than our first,” he said.
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Nick Suzuki file
Birthplace: London, Ontario
Draft: 13th overall in 2017 by the Golden Knights