January 23, 2019

NHL: Joy and disbelief as Washington Capitals win hockey title

08 June 2018, 12:32 | Anna Jefferson

Washington Capitals Hoist First Stanley Cup After Dramatic Win Over Vegas

Washington Capitals Win the Stanley Cup

The Capitals on Thursday night won the Stanley Cup for the first time in a franchise history that dates back to 1974, defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game 5.

The Washington Capitals have badly outplayed Vegas in this series and is worth a serious look as a road underdog given the offensive firepower and how they've lit Fleury on fire the first four games.

The Capitals are one win away from their first Stanley Cup for a multitude of reasons, primarily because everybody is doing their jobs to perfection. "Years of breaking things down and trying again, breaking things down and trying again, and this group never gave up and we finally did it".

"You should be a role model", Cherry said at the time.

- This is a tough one, but I'm guessing both teams won't want to take the first penalty, and we'll see a faster and cleaner first period to see how the offenses shake out. Washington has a shockingly lengthy franchise history of playoff collapses, but these Caps promptly won all three potential closeout games in their first three playoff series this spring.

According to oddsmakers, the Golden Knights are a -145 favorite on the moneyline. Despite a fairytale season that ended just three wins short of the ultimate prize, Vegas' loss was crushing to the players who put so much into the year. If you start thinking that we have to win three games, sometimes it gets demoralizing.

The Golden Knights, meanwhile, became the first National Hockey League expansion team since 1980 to make the playoffs in their debut season. The Capitals went into the third trailing 3-2 and went ahead after Devante Smith-Pelly and Eller scored midway through the pivotal period.

While Cherry earlier in the interview said he was "in Ovi's corner", his criticism of Kuznetsov echoed similar sentiments Cherry shared about his countryman and teammate, Ovechkin, for celebrating after reaching the 50-goal mark during the 2009 season.

"I think there were a lot of series where maybe Washington got eliminated, but [Ovechkin] had a great series".

Vegas pulled their goalie in favor of an extra attacker with two minutes to play but Washington withstood the late charge. As Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant said, "They deserve to be up three games to one".

The victory capped a storybook year for the Capitals after years of disappointment and postseason failures, and solidified Ovechkin's status among some of the all-time greats with the first championship of his career. The goal was Schmidt's first point of the series.

But in the end, it was Ovechkin and the Caps' night.

The Caps enjoyed periods of success in the 80s and 90s, even making it to their only previous Stanley Cup Final in 1998, only to be swept by the Detroit Red Wings. It was a whole one team, stick with the system and it doesn't matter what happened, even after the [second] period, we knew we just have to push it and get the result done.

After scoring seven goals in 75 regular-season games, Smith-Pelly matched that total in 24 playoff games.

Moments later, the Knights struggled to keep up with the Caps' puck movement and left Brett Connolly open for a shot.

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