The Washington Capitals were finally able to put the pieces all together and take home the 2018 Stanley Cup.
Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals put years of heartbreak behind them by winning the Stanley Cup for the first time, defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday. Even the most casual hockey fan was aware that Alex Ovechkin was the best hockey player playing to not win the Stanley Cup. Immediately after drafting a player like Ovechkin the expectation becomes a Stanley Cup.
This was their 43rd season. It was Ovechkin’s 13th season and Washington’s 10th appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs
“Years of heartbreak, years of breaking things down and trying again, breaking things down and trying again,” Holtby said. “This group never gave up, and we finally did it.”
It’s an absolute pleasure to say, the Washington Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin are Stanley Cup Champions!
Lars Eller’s goal proved to be the game-winner and it allowed the Capitals to take home their first Stanley Cup title in the franchise’s 43-year history. The Caps went into the third period trailing 3-2, but goals by Devante Smith-Pelly (3-3) and Eller allowed them to jump ahead for good. The 29-year-old was a critical part of Washington’s championship run, as he accumulated seven goals and 18 points in 24 games.
The Capitals tied an NHL record for most road wins in a postseason (10). They ended each series on the road, all on their first try.
Fittingly, they also won in come-from-behind fashion, just as they had to do in all four rounds.
“We never make it easy, do we?” defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “But, man, what a group of guys and what a performance from a lot of individuals. We played together, showed a lot of character. That’s something we got criticized for in the past. Boy, we showed a ton of it this spring.”
The fact that the Capitals were always amongst the favorites worked against them come playoff time. This season, many experts were completely against taking Washington because of the team’s past failures. This forced the group to come together as a team and prove to the world their window was not yet closed.
The 2018 Stanley Cup final featured two teams of destiny. Let’s face it, nobody expected anything out of the Vegas Golden Knights. We all know by now, they put together the most exciting inaugural season in NHL history. It’s hard to even describe what happened in sin city this year…
The Golden Knights’ historic inaugural season ended with their first four-game losing streak.
“I think people would have said we would have won 20 games this year, so to find ourselves playing for a Stanley Cup, it’s pretty special, but just a little bit short,” Vegas forward James Neal said. “But proud of the guys.”
“We worked hard tonight, we competed hard, just couldn’t beat that team,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “They deserved the Stanley Cup.”
Alex Ovechkin joined an elite group with his Conn Smythe Trophy victory.
Ovechkin added that prestigious accomplishment to a collection that also includes three Hart Trophy wins. The only other players that have ever won the Hart at least three times and the Conn Smythe Trophy at least once are Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Wayne Gretzky. That’s special company to be a part of.
Finally, channeling years of adversity into an all-around team game turned the Washington Capitals into Stanley Cup Champions. Ovechkin becomes the first Russian born captain to hoist the Cup.
The Stanley Cup is not something you deserve. It’s something you earn. It sure feels great to say: the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin finally are Stanley Cup Champions!
This is what it’s all about pic.twitter.com/pX3eDBHx56
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) June 8, 2018