Tyce Thompson was anxious about his NHL debut Tuesday but fortunately had his teammates and a familiar face on the ice with him.
The New Jersey Devils forward made his NHL debut and squared off against his older brother and Buffalo Sabres forward Tage Thompson at Prudential Center.
The Devils signed Thompson, a fourth-round pick (No. 96) from the 2019 NHL Draft, to a two-year, entry-level contract March 24. His family made the short trip from Connecticut for Tyce’s debut and got to watch Tage too.
“I’m extremely excited. I’m so happy for them, particularly Tyce, for his first game,” Tage and Tyce’s dad Brent Thompson, who also coaches the New York Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, told MSG before the game. “Playing against his brother is pretty special in itself. [I’m] really, really happy for him and obviously just anxious.”
Thompson then picked up his first NHL point just 4:22 into his first game when he got the primary assist on Damon Severson‘s goal that put New Jersey ahead early. The moment was overwhelming, but his teammates kept him in check.
“It was crazy with emotions,” Thompson said after the game. “Excitement, nerves. But I thought the guys in the room did a good job of keeping me calm and just enjoying the moment and just kind of having fun out there.
“I was definitely very anxious and had a lot of emotion going through men. It was a night I will remember. It was very special.”
NHL.com staff reporter Mike G. Morreale contributed to this report.