Washington Capitals defeat Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup Final

Jo Caldwell
June 8, 2018

Another is finally realized.

The Caps got the scoring started in a frenetic five-goal second period when Jakub Vrana pumped in his third goal of the playoffs, but the Knights answered a little three minutes later when Nate Schmidt scored off assists from Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault.

A franchise that had gone its entire 44 years without a championship finally has something to celebrate.

But there's no way to describe something 43 years in the making without starting with Alex Ovechkin. For years, Ovechkin was maligned for Washington's lack of playoff success, even though he's remained an elite scorer in the postseason.

"We know we haven't played our game (in) the first four games", Neal said. It was another level of vindication for the longtime National Hockey League superstar who, however fairly or unfairly, always bore the knock of "playoff choker" on his shoulders.

"It means everything, " the Conn Smythe Trophy victor as playoff MVP said of winning the Cup. The first major sports team in this gambling city bucked the odds until the end, but in the end this was Washington's championship to win.

The first player Ovechkin passed the Cup to was longtime teammate Nicklas Backstrom. 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. I think a lot of guys feel for him in that situation. "It was a special moment". Playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelly, who'd scored just seven goals in the regular season, scored his seventh goal of the postseason on a handsome diving shot.

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The Washington Capitals captain won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs after leading his team with 15 goals this postseason.

Less than a year ago the Golden Knights had both a general manager and a coach - but nearly no players. Vegas never got close to a tying goal despite both teams getting an extra chance to rest while the officials checked on the timing.

Washington Capitals players shake hands with Golden Knights players after the Capitals won Game 5 to win the Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday, June 7, 2018. Ovechkin scored his 15th goal of the postseason during the second period on one of his patented one-timers on the power play.

Washington took a 1-0 lead and Vegas tied it up three minutes later.

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.

It was a dizzying display of offence and perhaps the best period of hockey so far in this final.

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. The teams then engaged in a brawl behind the net, reflecting the unbearable tension with the Cup on the line.

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Fleury retaliated with a slash of his own as the two met near centre ice.

Walker, a left winger, saw ice time in one game of the playoffs, taking the ice in game six of the Capitals' second round matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins, registering one assist in the game.

The goals kept coming - and from unlikely sources. Fleury made 29 saves. Tomas Tatar's shot deflect off Perron while he sat inside the net.

The Washington Capitals completed an unlikely run to capture the Stanley Cup.

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

Therefore, the original call stands - good goal Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights are 35-13 in their last 48 home games, 5-2 in their last 7 Thursday games and 13-6 in their last 19 overall.

Devante Smith-Pelly corrals the puck before shooting it past Fleury to tie game 3-3 in the third period.

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Washington came up empty on a power play, though Alex Ovechkin rang a shot off the post. Smith-Pelly, who had seven goals in 75 games in the regular season, notched his seventh goal in 24 playoff games.

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