Devils Penguins Hockey

New Jersey Devils' Nolan Foote (25) celebrates his first goal of the season during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Call it the Kelowna connection.

The “firsts” keep coming for former Kelowna Rockets captain Nolan Foote, and he had some high-profile teammates to help him along the way Tuesday night.

The 20-year-old left-wing scored his first NHL goal in a 7-6 loss to the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

The assists came from Nick Merkley and Damon Severson, themselves former Rockets. Merkley played in Kelowna from 2012-17 while Severson was a Rocket from 2009-14.

Foote played his first NHL game on Sunday, and notched his first assist in that game on a goal from Nico Hischier. Merkley also picked up an assist on that goal, too.

Foote is a former first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but was traded last season to the Devils.

He'd played 20 games with the Devil's AHL affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y., where he scored six goals and 10 assists.

Merkley is also finding a home in Jersey after languishing in the minors. Arizona selected him in the first round of the 2015 NHL draft, but only appeared in one game with the Coyotes.

Since being acquired by the Devils, he's had more success with two goals and seven assists in 20 games this NHL season.

Severson has been an impact player in New Jersey since the start.

Since the Devils drafted him in the second round of the 2012 draft, the 26-year-old defenceman has played 475 NHL games. He's scored 40 goals and 137 assists in seven NHL seasons.