Nick Suzuki is no stranger to scoring goals.
But Thursday night was unlike any of the 141 times he lit the lamp in regular season action over four Canadian Hockey League seasons as the Montreal Canadiens rookie found his first in the NHL.
The 20-year-old London native corralled a redirected Jeff Petry shot and buried his backhand into the empty cage to make it 3-0 Habs in the first period en route to a 4-0 shutout over the Minnesota Wild on home ice. It was Suzuki’s seventh game of the season and second point following an assist in his third game on October 9.
“I was just trying to go hard to the net for a rebound,” Suzuki said. “It just kind of popped right onto my stick. It was a nice bounce for me.”
It was also a milestone night for former London Knights defenceman Victor Mete who scored his first NHL goal in his 127th career game.
“We’re both happy for (each other),” Suzuki added. “When I saw he scored, I was going nuts. It’s been a while for him and I’m just starting, so hopefully we can both score some more goals.”
Suzuki joins the Canadiens after winning an OHL championship with the Guelph Storm last season and earning Playoff MVP honours with 42 points in 24 games. His CHL career, which began in 2015 and featured three plus seasons with the Owen Sound Attack, included 328 points in just 251 games. He was also named the 2017 CHL Sportsman of the Year before being selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft.
He was one of 339 CHL alumni named to opening night rosters across the NHL but just one of five players who competed in the league last season.