UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- John Tavares' second goal midway through the third period capped a wild back-and-forth game and lifted the New York Islanders to a 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals Tuesday night at a delirious Nassau Coliseum.
The win by the eighth-seeded Islanders tied the best-of-seven series at two games apiece heading into Game 5 Thursday night at top-seeded Pittsburgh.
Tavares' goal -- a second-effort goal in which he picked up his own rebound and managed to contort his body so that he tipped the puck past Evgeni Malkin, who had come over to make the stop, and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury -- snapped the fourth tie of the game.
It also snapped the Islanders' seven-game postseason home losing streak -- tied for the longest skid in NHL history -- and ensured there would be at least one more game will be played this season at the Coliseum. Game 6 will take place Saturday night.
Casey Cizikas' one-handed goal with just over a minute left provide the insurance for the Islanders.
Mark Streit also scored two goals for the Islanders while Brian Strait and Kyle Okposo collected a goal apiece. Goalie Evgeni Nabokov recorded 27 saves.
James Neal, Evgeni Malkin, Brandon Sutter and Pascal Dupuis all scored for the Penguins, who trailed 1-0 and 2-1 but scored the tying goal within a minute each time. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 18 saves.
Both goalies made point-blank saves to preserve a 4-4 tie before Tavares' game-winner. The sellout crowd of 16,170 chanted "M-V-P" following the second goal by Tavares, who also broke the first of the game's four ties with his second-period goal.
As they did in Game 3 on Sunday, the Islanders seemed to ride the momentum of a frenzied crowd as they dominated the opening minutes. After failing to score on a pair of power plays, the Islanders took the lead when Strait threaded a shot between three Penguins and under the left armpit of Fleury to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 14:05.
But the Penguins tied it just 45 seconds later when a wide-open Neal beat Nabokov from just to the right of the Islanders net.
The Islanders were 0-for-3 on the power play before finally breaking through when Tavares tipped in a shot by Streit 6:19 into the second.
Once again, though, the Penguins tied it before the cheers could stop echoing. This time, Malkin picked up a loose puck in the Islanders' zone, skated all the way up the right side and beat Nabokov a mere 58 seconds after Tavares' goal.
The Penguins took their first lead at the 11:03 mark, when Brendan Morrow picked up a loose puck in the corner along the boards and fed it to Sutter, whose shot clipped Nabokov on its way into the net.
The Islanders tied it with 1:24 left in the second, when Okposo -- with his +back to the net - poked the puck just over the goalmouth.
The Penguins took the lead less than a minute into the third period, when Chris Kunitz's shot ticked off the stick of Dupuis, who was being held by Tavares, and trickled past Nabokov.
The Islanders created the game's fourth tie less than five minutes later, when Streit's shot from the "Stanley Cup Playoffs" logo sailed past Fleury.
NOTES: With Neal, who missed Games 2 and 3 with a lower-body injury he suffered when he was hit by Travis Hamonic in Game 1, active, neither team had injured players among their scratches. ... The NHL announced Tuesday that the Penguins' Kris Letang is one of three finalists for the Norris Trophy, presented annually to the league's best defenseman. Letang, who led all defensemen with 33 assists, is vying for the award with Montreal's P.K. Subban and Minnesota's Ryan Suter. ... The Penguins are 8-6 all time when leading 2-1 in a best-of-seven series. The Islanders are 4-10 all time when trailing 2-1 in a best-of-seven series. They last came back from a 2-1 deficit in 1993, when they beat the Penguins in the Patrick Division finals. ... Before their decade-plus postseason losing streak at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders were 77-32 all time at home in the playoffs. ... Nabokov played in his 84th postseason game, tops among goalies in this year's playoffs.