Ovechkin, Capitals eager to end their title drought in Vegas desert

Ovechkin, Capitals eager to end their title drought in Vegas desert

Lars Eller's rebound goal with 7:37 remaining broke a tie and proved to be the championship-winning goal as the Washington Capitals won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history with a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Washington Capitals pose with the Stanley Cup after the Capitals defeated the Golden Knights 4-3 in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals Thursday, June 7, 2018, in Las Vegas.

Braden Holtby made 28 saves in Game 5, outplaying three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury in the other net one final time.

This has been a tough series, mostly because we think we know this Capitals team because we've seen them in the playoffs so many times.

The Washington Capitals have won their first Stanley Cup.

"When you get this close to the Cup, it's hard", Fleury said. We fight through it and we worked so hard through all the years.

But the Golden Knights, with the enthusiasm of a motley crew of veterans and young players and powered by an offence that relied heavily on speed and relentless puck pressure, had their own ideas. "We just win it".

It's not clear at this stage whether Walker will have his name engraved on the historic Stanley Cup trophy; a player has to have played during the Finals to automatically qualify.

The remarkable Golden Knights hadn't lost four consecutive games in their entire inaugural season before the Caps rolled them.

But the Golden Knights, who entered the game 10-0 in the playoffs when leading after two periods, were unable to hold the Caps at bay and the visitors tied the game midway through the third when Devante Smith-Pelly scored from in close as he was falling to the ice.

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T.J Oshie celebrates with teammate Shane Gersich after claiming the championship. I'm not taking it anymore'. They got clutch goaltending from Brayden Holtby, including his miracluous paddle save off Alex Tuch in Game 2 that seems to be the turning point of the series when viewed in the rear-view mirror.

But, more than that, Ovechkin has been a crucial part of pulling this Washington Capitals team together.

- Their defense has been bad this series, allowing three or more goals in each of the first four games.

The 13-year-old comparison revved up again Thursday night, since Ovechkin and Crosby are now the only two players since 2005 with 15 playoff goals in a single spring. The goal was Schmidt's first point of the series.

First-time titles are all the rage, and Ovechkin and the Caps have paid their dues for this one.

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.

Perron actually scored from his backside for the second Vegas goal.

This time, the other 30 teams were only allowed to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters and one goalie.

Kuznetsov, who finished the regular season with 27 goals and 56 assists, scored 12 goals and had 20 assists in the postseason. Eller battled for position near the crease and after Fleury stopped a shot from Brett Connolly, the puck fell right behind the netminder.

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