Washington Capitals win first Stanley Cup in franchise history

Kyle Cantlon
The <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/teams/was" data-ylk="slk:Washington Capitals">Washington Capitals</a> are Stanley Cup champions at last. (Getty)
The Washington Capitals are Stanley Cup champions at last. (Getty)


After years of playoff disappointment and a decades-long championship drought, the Washington Capitals captured their first Stanley Cup with a 4-3 victory over the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 on Thursday.

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Devante Smith-Pelly and Lars Eller scored two minutes and 31 seconds apart to erase a third-period deficit, while Jakub Vrana and Alex Ovechkin rounded out the scoring for the Capitals.

Here’s what proved to be the decisive goal from Eller:

Nate Schmidt, David Perron and Reilly Smith all found the back of the net for Vegas, which sees its miraculous run end just short of a championship after putting together quite possibly the greatest expansion season in professional sports history.

Braden Holtby was once again solid in the Washington crease, turning aside 28 of the 31 shots he faced and posting a save percentage above .900 for the fourth time this series. Marc-Andre Fleury, meanwhile, had another so-so performance in allowing four goals on 33 shots.

Game 5 was the tightest affair of the series, with the Caps edging the Golden Knights in shots (33-31), the two teams even with 20 scoring chances apiece, and Vegas holding a slight 15-13 advantage in slot shots. Washington reeled off four straight W’s after dropping the opening game of the final in Vegas.

Ovechkin finished the postseason with 15 goals, becoming the first to reach that mark since 2009 and only the second since 2015 to have 15 or more tallies in a single playoff run.

It’s been a long time coming for No. 8, who is now able to celebrate his first championship in his 13th NHL season and, just for good measure, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

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