Ovechkin's heroics in third sends Caps to Game 7


Alex Ovechkin took a perfect lead pass from Viktor Kozlov, split two defensemen at center ice and broke free.

There was nothing goaltender Martin Biron or any of the Flyered-up, orange-clad fans who taunted Ovechkin throughout the series could do to stop "Alexander the Great."

With the season on the line for the Washington Capitals, Ovechkin delivered. He scored twice in the third period to lift the Capitals to a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night and sent the series back to Washington for Game 7.

"It's Hollywood here and the script said he wins the game," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said.

In Monday's other NHL playoff game, Montreal defeated Boston 5-0 to take the series in seven games.

Now the Capitals have a chance to become the 21st team in league history to come back from a 3-1 deficit and win a best-of-seven series. They've won a Game 7 only once before, beating the Flyers on an overtime goal by Dale Hunter 20 years ago.

Ovechkin, who scored 65 goals in the regular season, hadn't put one past Biron since Game 1. Everywhere he went on the ice, the Flyers surrounded him.

Finally, he was alone.

Following a flurry of shots by the Flyers, Kozlov got the puck in Washington's zone and fired a pass up ice. The speedy Ovechkin took it in stride, skated between Lasse Kukkonen and Braydon Coburn and beat Biron to give the Caps a 3-2 lead 2:46 into the third period.

That 2-0 lead the Flyers once had was history.

"I don't have lots of chances to go, so I just kind of shot it," Ovechkin said. "I think of what I have to do and I just do my own thing."

A delirious Ovechkin pumped his arms and leaped into the bench to celebrate with his teammates while the sellout crowd fell silent.

Eight minutes later, Ovechkin ripped a one-timer past Biron to give the Caps a two-goal cushion and completely quiet the raucous fans.

"Great players find a way and Alex did it tonight," Capitals center Brooks Laich said. "With Alex, it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when."

The Capitals need Ovechkin at his best again Tuesday night. Despite winning two straight to even the series, they're not relying on the home-ice advantage and taking the Flyers lightly.

"We've won nothing and we know how resilient they are," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "They had the toughest schedule down the stretch and seemed to win every time."

Washington will play Pittsburgh with a series win. The Flyers would get top-seeded Montreal.

"There is still another chance," said Flyers center Danny Briere, who scored his sixth goal of the series to put Philly ahead 2-0 in the second period. "We have to forget what happened and leave it all on the ice over there. We know we can win there. That is all we have to think about."

The Flyers have lost two career playoff series after leading 3-1. They are 1-3 in Game 7s on the road, with their only win coming at Pittsburgh in a second-round series in 1989.

"In the playoffs, you work for every opportunity you get, you make things happen and you make mistakes," Biron said. "They definitely played their hearts out there and they deserve what they got. If we play the way we want, we can go out there and win some games. We have done it. It's a little bit of everything. We have to be a little quicker and a little smarter. That's what we have to do."

The Capitals, who rallied from a two-goal hole in Game — to win on Ovechkin's game-winner, started their comeback on a nifty tic-tac-toe goal by Nicklas Backstrom midway through the second. It went from Laich to Alexander Semin to Backstrom.

Semin's third goal of the series with 1:57 left in the second tied it at 2. Biron made a glove save on John Erskine's shot, but the puck popped out of his mitt and went right to Semin for an easy goal.

Biron, who made 36 saves, is an abysmal 0-5 in the second of back-to-back games this season.

Cristobal Huet made 33 saves for Washington. The Caps' biggest save came from defenseman Tom Poti, who stopped a shot while Huet was sprawled on the ice to keep it at 2-0.

Coburn had a chance to put the Flyers ahead in the opening minute of the third period, but his slap shot banged off the post.

A few minutes later, Ovechkin took over.

"The stars, it seems to happen around them, whether it's John Elway and 'The Drive' or great baseball players getting the last at-bat," Boudreau said. "He was getting frustrated because they did such a good job on him, but he persevered and came through."

Mike Richards scored 3:49 into the game to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.

Canadiens 5, Bruins 0

Carey Price got his second shutout and Andrei Kostitsyn scored twice to lead the host Canadiens over the Bruins in the deciding game of their first-round playoff series.

Price stopped 25 shots, including 11 shots in the opening period. He got his first playoff shutout in a 1-0 win in Game 4.

Mike Komisarek opened the scoring 3:31 in amid one of the first of countless roars from the raucous Bell Centre crowd.

The Canadiens took control in the second, outshooting the Bruins 17-6 while building a three-goal lead on a superb goal by Mark Streit midway through the period and Kostitsyn's second goal of the series at 15:13.

Kostitsyn punctuated the win with his second of the game, a power-play goal with 2:02 remaining in the third. Sergei Kostitsyn scored with 7.3 seconds remaining.

Tim Thomas stopped 30 shots for Boston, which fell short in its bid to overcome both 2-0 and 3-1 series deficits for the first time in team history.

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