CALGARY – With his father looking on and the Pengrowth Saddledome crowd behind him, Brett Sutter sure made an impact in his NHL debut.
Sutter, the son of Flames general manager Darryl Sutter, scored his first NHL goal at 3:59 of the third period Tuesday in the Calgary Flames’ dramatic 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Anaheim Ducks.
Sutter’s goal came at the perfect time for the Flames. It tied the score 2-2 and was the first of three consecutive goals for Calgary.
The tying goal came just 14 seconds after Ryan Getzlaf’s goal on a backhand had given Anaheim its first lead.
Marc Giordano worked the puck down low to Craig Conroy at the side of the Anaheim goal, who whacked a bouncing puck across the crease to Sutter. Sutter had the puck hit him in the chest and land at his feet where he jammed it in the open net setting off a massive roar from the sell-out crowd of 19,289.
“It’s pretty special,” said Sutter, a sixth round draft pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. “I was out there for that first one, I thought that was pretty exciting but I didn’t really do a lot. Once that second one went in for me, I was real excited.”
Giordano said you could feel the energy in the building after that goal.
“That was awesome. The fans were into it. It was one of those plays where it just bounced around and (Sutter) got rewarded for a hard night’s work,” Giordano said.
With momentum on the Flames side, Calgary received a power play shortly after and Giordano took advantage streaking into the slot and one-timing a pass from Jarome Iginla into the top corner at 11:49.
Mike Cammalleri added a goal at 14:18 to give Calgary a two-goal cushion and that goal would turn out to be the game-winner as Brendan Morrison’s second goal of the night two minutes later set up a dramatic finish.
David Moss also scored for Calgary (19-11-4), which moved past Vancouver into first place in the Northwest Division. The Canucks lost 5-0 to San Jose on Tuesday night.
“It’s going to feel good getting up in the morning and looking at the standings and seeing that we’re in first place,” Giordano said.
Anaheim (18-14-3) limps into the break having lost five of its last six away from home (1-5-0).
“We beat ourselves tonight, I believe that,” said Morrison.
The veteran Ducks centre pointed to Sutter’s goal as a key moment.
“You have to have a big shift after you get the lead like that and this is a veteran group in here, we should be able to go out and do that and preserve a lead in the third period,” Morrison added.
In the end, the night belonged to Sutter.
Recalled from Quad Cities (AHL) on Monday where the second-year pro had one goal and six assists in 28 games, Sutter is the eighth of the famous Viking, Alta., Sutter family and second of the second generation to make it to the NHL.
“Words can’t really describe it, it just feels good,” said Sutter about his first NHL game.
The confidence coach Mike Keenan showed in the youngster was shown late in the game when Sutter was on the ice in the final minute as Anaheim pressed for the tying goal.
“It’s something I’m proud of to have trust put on me like that,” Sutter said. “Luckily enough they didn’t score, they had us hemmed in there for a bit”.
Ducks defenceman Scott Niedermayer dismissed the fact Anaheim was playing for the second night in a row as a factor”.
“It was mental breakdowns more than anything, more then physical tiredness,” said Niedermayer. “It’s disappointing.”
After a scoreless first period, Calgary struck first in the second period when Craig Conroy fired a cross-ice pass onto the stick of Moss breaking towards the net and he snapped a 30-foot shot past Giguere.
It was the 11th goal of the season for Moss, which is a new career high surpassing the 10 he scored two years ago as a rookie.
However, Anaheim tied it up at 17:48 of the second. Brett Hedican’s shot going wide of the net hit rookie Anaheim centre Andrew Ebbett and caromed wildly into the slot where Morrison was right there to fire in his fifth goal.
Giguere, who had 28 saves, was back in the net for the first time since leaving the team after the death of his father. It was the first time he has lost in his last six starts having entered the night 4-0-0 during the previous five games with a 1.93 goals-against average.
Kiprusoff had 30 saves for the Flames to improve to 19-10-3.
Notes: Ebbett of Vernon, B.C., had two assists for his first two NHL points… Calgary LW Curtis Glencross (leg) is back practising and is expected to rejoin the line-up after Christmas. Glencross has missed four games… Anaheim LW Brad May got back in the line-up after sitting out the past seven games. He took the place of C Ryan Carter, who was a healthy scratch… Despite coming from behind to win twice win losing after two periods (2-9-1), Anaheim has yet to win a game when trailing after one period (0-7-1).