UNIONDALE, N.Y., April 24 (UPI) -- Shawn Bates beat Curtis Joseph on a penalty shot with 2 1/2 minutes to play Wednesday night, capping a wild third period and giving the New York Islanders a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The outcome squared the best-of-seven series at two wins apiece.
One of New York's less-publicized off-season acquisitions, Bates broke down the left side with speed and had his legs chopped out by diving defenseman Bryan McCabe. Referee Brad Watson signaled for a penalty shot, the third in Islanders' playoff history.
"I knew they were probably going to call something, but I didn't think it was going to be a penalty shot," said McCabe, a former Islander. "I'll live with it."
"It was a very questionable call," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "I've seen some very disappointing officiating but never like this."
Bates weaved left before boring down the slot and snapping a wrist shot from the hashmarks over Joseph's right shoulder and inside the left goalpost. It was his second goal of the series and first career playoff game-winner.
"We know how quick Cujo is with the glove hand, and at the last second I went to his blocker side," Bates said. "That is something that as a kid you dream about -- taking a penalty shot in the playoffs. You can't practice something like that. There are 17,000 people behind you screaming and you really get a nervous feeling."
"He came in and he just roofed it in a hurry," Joseph said. "There was bad ice and the puck was bouncing a bit, and he still made a great shot."
After surrendering two weak goals, Chris Osgood was able to hold on down the stretch, helping New York kill a late power play after defenseman Kenny Jonsson was penalized for slashing with 66 seconds remaining.
Alexei Yashin, Kip Miller and defenseman Roman Hamrlik had the other goals for the Islanders, who won both home games on consecutive nights after losing twice in Toronto. Game 5 will be Friday night at the Air Canada Centre.
"Toronto is in the driver's seat," New York coach Peter Laviolette said. "The only thing we did here is hold serve."
Gary Roberts set up a pair of goals for the Maple Leafs, who were without top scorer Mats Sundin. Toronto's captain was a very late scratch with what Quinn described as "an upper body injury." The Leafs were unable to suit up a replacement and used just 17 skaters.
"That is obviously my fault," Quinn said. "I felt comfortable that we had enough players and I never thought I was going to have to sit one out. In this case, in hindsight, I should have at least brought them in. I probably should have called reserves up."
Toronto scored in the final minute of each period, getting goals from Alexander Mogilny and defenseman Tomas Kaberle, to take a 2-1 lead into the third.
Miller tied it on the power play with 6:44 to play. After skating out from behind the net, he banked the puck off Joseph for his first playoff goal since 1999.
The Islanders took the lead just 1:40 later as Joseph only got a piece of Hamrlik's blast from just inside the blue line.
But the Maple Leafs needed only 98 seconds to forge a 3-3 deadlock. Paul Healey carried the puck along the goal line and worked the puck to Corson. With Osgood eyeing Healey, Corson emerged at the right goalpost and wristed the puck between the goalie's pads for his first goal of the series.
"I was losing my mind," Hamrlik said. "Then Batesy got the penalty shot and I was praying on the bench that he'd score. And he did. He had so much confidence."