CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — On the night Calgary honored former star Joe Nieuwendyk, an inspired new generation of young centers led the Flames to a thrilling victory.
Joe Colborne scored twice and Sean Monahan had the other goal in a furious third- period rally that saw Calgary overcome a 3-1 deficit with less than nine minutes to go to edge the New York Islanders 4-3 on Friday night.
Colborne was not yet born when Nieuwendyk scored 51 goals as a rookie in 1987-88. Nonetheless, the touching ceremony made an impact on the Calgary-born, 2008 first-round pick acquired from Toronto at the start of the season.
"You forget how good he was," said Colborne, whose first career two-goal game gives him seven goals on the season. "You hear his points and stuff and you almost forget until they walk you through his career, and that was really cool for me.
"I might have felt it a little more than some of the other guys because he was one of my favorites growing up."
Colborne got the comeback started at 11:29 when he knocked in a rebound off the end boards after Mark Giordano's point shot missed the net.
After Monahan went forehand to backhand on a pretty play in close to tie it at 14:22, Colborne completed the win, deflecting in Giordano's slap shot at 15:41.
"Joe Nieuwendyk started the game and Joe Colborne decided that he would finish the game," said Flames coach Bob Hartley.
Calgary has won seven of its last eight home games.
"Obviously it's always fun after a win but after a game like that when you're down and you come back, it feels that much better," said Monahan, who leads the team with 19 goals. "After those couple goals by us, it felt like they stepped back a little bit. At that point when you have momentum like that, it almost feels like that next goal's coming and that's what happened."
Finnish rookie Markus Granlund also scored for Calgary, which had eight rookies in their lineup for the first time since Dec. 10, 1996.
Kyle Okposo, Colin McDonald and Brock Nelson scored for New York. The Islanders are 1-1-1 with one game to go on a four-game road trip that ends in Vancouver.
Hartley said some words from veteran players at the second intermission got his team going.
"We had a good little talk in the locker room and the boys got back and they were on their toes again," he said. "When we work, when we drive the net, we're a pretty solid team. I don't care how many kids we have in the lineup. It's all about passion.