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Inspired Colborne scores twice in Flames' 4-3 win

The SportsXchange

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Flames saluted a former star on Friday night, honoring retired center Joe Nieuwendyk as part of their Forever a Flame program.

Flames right winger Joe Colborne, who was raised in Calgary and idolized Nieuwendyk during his playing days, paid tribute with the first two-goal performance of his career.

Colborne, a 24-year-old rookie, started and finished Calgary's furious third-period comeback in a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders at the Scotiabank Saddledome, a special night because Nieuwendyk's No. 25 was raised to the rafters.

"I had chills the entire ceremony. I'm honored to have been here and been a part of it," Colborne said. "It was a really cool night. I'm glad the goals actually meant something."

It was Retro Night at the Saddledome, but the rookies led the way for Flames.

In addition to two goals from Colborne, first-year centers Markus Granlund and Sean Monahan also scored for the Flames (25-31-7).

Right wingers Colin McDonald and Kyle Okposo and center Brock Nelson scored for the Islanders (24-33-9), who had a 3-1 edge at the second intermission but have now suffered 12 losses this season after leading by two goals. They also frittered away a two-goal cushion in Thursday's 3-2 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

"It's just a couple mistakes that cost us, and they capitalized on it," McDonald said. "It's been the same thing for quite a bit this year for whatever reason. We just can't seem to get it out of our system. It's frustrating, to say the least.

"It seems like we've been talking about it all year. We just have to find a way to go out and get the job done. It's really as simple as that."

Granlund gave the hosts an early lead with a short-handed goal. The 20-year-old center had all sorts of net to shoot at after a pass from left winger Paul Byron, giving the announced sellout crowd of 19,289 a goal to celebrate just 2:11 after the opening faceoff.

McDonald tied it for the Islanders at 15:26 of the first period, getting plenty of power behind a one-timer after a feed from center Ryan Strome, who was parked behind the net.

The Islanders capitalized on a couple of Flames turnovers to take a lead in the second period.

Flames captain Mark Giordano was caught deep in the offensive zone after one of his passes was picked off, and Okposo and right winger Michael Grabner made sure it was a costly error with a goal on a two-on-one rush.

About six minutes later, Flames left winger Ben Hanowski had a lousy pass and Nelson made him pay for it, ripping a shot over goaltender Joni Ortio's glove hand.

Colborne sparked the Flames' comeback at 11:29 of the third period, scoring from the side of the net after Giordano's shot bounced off the end-boards.

Monahan took advantage of a great pass by right winger TJ Galiardi and slid a shot through Anders Nilsson's five-hole to tie it at 14:22. Colborne played the hero just 79 seconds later, deflecting Giordano's shot for the go-ahead goal.

"Joe Nieuwendyk started the game and Joe Colborne decided that he would finish the game," Flames coach Bob Hartley said.

Finishing games has been the big problem for the Islanders, but coach Jack Capuano was not going to rip his young team after squandering another lead.

"They're a good group in there. This is where it comes from within," Capuano said. "As a staff, when things start to get tight and teams get a goal to make it a one-goal game, the last thing I want to do is make them play on their heels and not on their toes and make them tentative. We want to keep going and we want to play the way that we know how to play.

"For whatever reason right now, the puck's not bouncing for these guys. It's difficult to explain. Right now, it's a good learning lesson, I guess."

Ortio made 23 saves for his second NHL win and also collected an assist. Nilsson stopped 19 shots.

The Flames and Islanders both traveled to Vancouver after Friday's game. The Flames will face the Canucks on Saturday and the Islanders wait until Sunday for their crack at them.

NOTES: Former C Joe Nieuwendyk became the fourth honoree of the Forever a Flame program. He spent the first eight seasons of his career with Calgary, collecting 314 goals and 302 assists in 577 regular-season games and helping the Flames win the Stanley Cup in 1989. Other members of the Forever a Flame club include Lanny McDonald, Mike Vernon and Al MacInnis. ... Islanders D Thomas Hickey, who was raised in Calgary, was playing in his hometown for the first time as an NHLer. Hickey, 25, is the only Islanders player to suit up for all 66 games so far this season. ... The Flames recalled D Tyler Wotherspoon from the American Hockey League's Abbotsford Heat late Thursday and the 20-year-old made his NHL debut against the Islanders. Wotherspoon was an emergency recall after D Dennis Wideman suffered an upper-body injury. Also on Calgary's lengthy list of sore bodies are LW Curtis Glencross (ankle), RW Jiri Hudler (upper body), RW David Jones (upper body), G Karri Ramo (knee) and RW Kevin Westgarth (head). C Matt Stajan (personal) is currently away from the team. ... The Islanders are without C John Tavares, who suffered a knee injury at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and is finished for the season.
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