Curtis Glencross will never forget his first NHL goal.
It was set up by Ryan Getzlaf.
Given his first chance at pro hockey by the Anaheim Ducks, who signed him as an undrafted free agent just before the lockout, Glencross made an early impression in the big league after toiling away in the minors for a couple of years.
"I was playing on a line with Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry. It was just a scramble down low. The puck came in the zone and Getzlaf picked it up on the side wall. I was coming down the slot and he passed it to me. I kind of cradled it and shot top corner on (Colorado Avalanche goaltender Peter) Budaj, blocker side," Glencross recalled yesterday as he prepared to face the team that gave him his big break this afternoon at the Saddledome. (1 p.m., PPV).
"It was my first ever shot on goal. It was my second shift, first period.
"It was pretty intense. I was pretty nervous going into the game. After the first period, lots of guys were giving me the gears and saying, 'That's not a bad way to come in and get rid of the jitters.'
"I'll never forget it."
Glencross was sent back down to the American Hockey League for the all-star break, then traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets as soon as the break ended. That opened another door for Glencross, who played his first full season between the Jackets and Edmonton Oilers last year before joining the Flames over the summer.
It's been a long road for Glencross, who turned 26 in December.
"If you're not a high draft pick kind of guy, you've got to put your time in and go off hard work and see how it ends up," he said. "You've got to fight against everyone. You're kind of looked at as an outsider."
Things didn't work out in Anaheim, but he's found a home with a team that has a similar disposition.
Physical, aggressive hockey is as prevalent in Calgary as it is in Anaheim, and today's game should be extra ornery with both clubs trying to snap consecutive losses.
"They're always physical games when we play them," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla. "They won't be too happy. They'll be owly. We're not too happy. We'll be not in the best mood, either."
Despite the way things have gone this week, Glencross is happy with where he ended up -- and grateful for the confidence his start with the Ducks gave him.
"Me going to the camp for the first time was kind of a reality check, being around those guys," he said. "I never thought I'd sign an NHL deal and I was fortunate to get that."