SAINT PAUL - When the regular-season schedule was released in June, Nate Thompson was especially eager to see when the Canadiens were heading to Minnesota.
Why Minnesota? Because it just so happens to be where his four-year-old son, Teague, resides with his mother, Cristin.
"It's definitely a game on the calendar that I circle, more importantly, because I don't get to see him that often. It's always nice to spend some time with him. It's going to be a pretty short amount of time while we're here, but all the time is quality time," said Thompson, shortly after the Habs arrived in the Twin Cities on Saturday evening. "At the same time, it's always fun to play in front of him."
Fun, yes, and it also gives the 13-year NHL veteran an extra boost of energy - along with some added responsibility, so to speak.
"You always want to impress him. If he tells me "You need to score a goal" or "You need to get an assist," I've got to try hard to do that," explained Thompson, who has three helpers in eight games so far this year. "Hopefully, I can fulfill his requests."
Teague will be front and center at the Xcel Energy Center, of course, proudly sporting his Canadiens jersey in the stands and cheering his father on shift after shift.
According to Thompson, though, the final score isn't necessarily the youngster's primary focus when he watches him at work.
"I think his favorite part is warmups because he gets a few pucks, and just seeing the guys up close against the glass," mentioned Thompson. "He's just four years old, so I don't know how much he's paying attention to the whole hockey game. His biggest thing is probably warmups and being in the locker room with the guys. He enjoys that."
Last season, Teague proved to be the club's good luck charm when he took in a pivotal game against the Winnipeg Jets in March.
The Canadiens came away with a 3-1 victory at Bell MTS Place to keep their playoff hopes alive.
This time around, Thompson is hoping for a similar outcome and a third consecutive win.
"We've done some good things the last few games. I think we've started to pick up some steam. We just have to continue to do the same things to get on a roll here," affirmed Thompson, referencing the recent triumphs over Minnesota and St. Louis, respectively. "What better way to keep it going than when my son's here."
Next month, Teague will be making his very first trip to Montreal, and we're pretty sure he'll be impressed by the Bell Centre atmosphere…
So far, so good
Teague has every reason to be proud of the 35-year-old centerman's offensive output thus far this season.
All three of Thompson's assists have led to sweet goals.
He kicked off a beautiful three-way passing play in the season-opener in North Carolina.
Video: MTL@CAR: Byron, Weal combine to sccore on the rush
That was followed up by this beauty of a pass in Buffalo...
Video: MTL@BUF: Armia nets SHG off Thompson's feed
And then there was this tape-to-tape feed to Nick Suzuki in St. Louis on Saturday.
Video: MTL@STL: Suzuki chips one-timer top shelf
If Teague caught the highlight-reel, we know he enjoyed every second of it!