Washington Capitals Hoist First Stanley Cup After Dramatic Win Over Vegas

Washington Capitals Win the Stanley Cup

Washington Capitals Win the Stanley Cup

But if there's any solace to be found for the suddenly hockey-crazed valley in the immediate aftermath of this loss, it should come in the way the Golden Knights fought. When the horn finally sounds, Ovechkin hopped off the bench in glee, joining his teammates in a huge pile of thrown sticks and helmets by the end boards. He sat there for a while with his head down and his leg throbbing. I was personally very low on him this season since he gave up over three goals per game, but has looked elite in the playoffs.

The Great Eight's trophy case is full now.

The Capitals were surely great in this series, handing Vegas the first four-game losing streak of its entire inaugural season after spotting the Knights a 6-4 victory in Game 1. But Ovechkin couldn't get by with a little help from his friends. He has a Conn Smythe Trophy and a Stanley Cup to go along with his three Hart Trophies, three Ted Lindsay Awards and seven Rocket Richard Trophies.

It was looking like the Golden Knights would extend the series until midway through the third period, when Devante Smith-Pelly scored a handsome goal on a quick skate-to-stick play.

From Ovechkin to Oshie and others who waited so long to taste glory with the Capitals organization, this Stanley Cup celebration seemed to be an extra emotional affair and one that won't be forgotten for a long time - by Oshie's dad or anyone else.

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All of these players - and others - not named Ovechkin contributed to the cause. The bird has been the word during the playoffs, however; Kuznetsov has been one of the top point producers and has gone back to his signature move, including after scoring in Game 3 vs. Vegas. He was relegated to signing a two-way contract with the Capitals entering the season and earned a spot in the lineup 75 times during the regular season. But Ovechkin and Co. never could advance past the second round. The last seven minutes ticked away, seemingly endless and not done any favors by the bad metaphor of a malfunctioning game clock that extended the last few seconds of the game.

Washington overcame a 2-0 series deficit to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round.

Vegas had a 3-2 lead heading into the third period on Reilly Smith's power-play goal with 28.2 seconds left in the second period. Six times they were ousted by either the New York Rangers or Pittsburgh Penguins.

The first period ended scoreless but both teams made up for it in the second period. Vegas has never lost four games in a row in its brief history. He was plus-18 in the playoffs.

The Canadiens traded Smith-Pelly to the Devils on February 29, 2016 in exchange for Stefan Matteau. His critical goal on Thursday was his seventh of the playoffs. Fleury stopped it, but the puck fell to the ice underneath him - and Eller fought off Luca Sbisa and slapped the puck into the net for the game victor.

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As had been the norm throughout their playoff run, Vegas provided the usual pageantry before the opening faceoff, with a knight defeating an opponent representing the visiting team - in this case the Capitals - in a staged sword battle. But the third-line centre contributed offensively, too.

Holtby also was incredible.

Nate Schmidt equalised for the Golden Knights before the Capitals' captain Alex Ovechkin restored parity for his side.

It was the first championship for a professional D.C. -based team in 26 years when the Washington Redskins won the Super Bowl.

"You can get pushed out of a series if you have skill and you don't have the will", said Trotz. Last year, ahead of the Russian presidential election, he launched 'Team Putin' - a movement in support of his candidacy. You can lie down or you can feel sorry yourself and let everybody walk over you.

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"It's not the first adversity we've faced this year", forward Jonathan Marchessault said.

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