PHILADELPHIA - Alex Ovechkin was stifled, shut down, and almost silent in his first NHL playoff series.
The league's leading scorer played like an MVP right on time in Game 6.
Ovechkin truly was "Alexander the Great" with the Washington Capitals' season on the line and put them in prime position to win a Game 7 for only the second time in franchise history.
Held without a goal for four straight games, Ovechkin scored twice in the third period to lift the Capitals to a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers last night and send the series back to Washington for a decisive Game 7.
"He was getting frustrated because they did such a good job on him, but he persevered and came through," said Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau.
The Capitals have rallied from a 3-1 hole in the series and have a chance to win only the second Game 7 in team history tonight. The other one should be painfully familiar to the Flyers faithful: Dale Hunter scored an overtime goal that led Washington past Philadelphia 20 years ago this month.
"We've won nothing and we know how resilient they are," Boudreau said.
The Capitals have a shot to advance on home ice thanks to Ovechkin's timely, clutch goals. They are trying to become the 21st team in league history to come back from a 3-1 deficit and win a best-of-seven series.
Ovechkin never seemed overly concerned that he hadn't scored since the Game 1 winner. The Flyers had frustrated the NHL's leading scorer so much with sticky defense that he wasn't much of a factor the last four games.
"It doesn't matter if I score," Ovechkin said. "If we win, I'm happy."
After Washington erased a 2-0 deficit late in the second period, Ovechkin made the Flyers pay early in the third.
Viktor Kozlov picked off a pass deep in the Washington zone and fed Ovechkin at center ice. He took the pass and skated untouched before he beat Martin Biron for the breakaway goal and a 3-2 lead 2:46 into the third period.
Ovechkin was just heating up. He ripped a one-timer on a cross-ice pass from Brooks Laich eight minutes later to give Washington a two-goal lead.
"There is still another chance," said Flyers center Danny Briere. "We have to forget what happened and leave it all on the ice over there. We know we can win there, we did it earlier in the series. That is all we have to think about.
Not even the rowdy home crowd helped the Flyers. The sold-out crowd was dressed in their matching orange T-shirts and they only grew louder as goals from Briere and Mike Richards put the Flyers up, 2-0, in the second.
But the Capitals, who rallied from a two-goal hole in Game 1 to win on Ovechkin's game winner, pulled through again.