On Thursday June 7th there was a buzz around the DMV that a lot of us never witnessed before. The area was ALL CAPS. The Washington Capitals, after taking Game 2 and dominating on home ice in Games 3 and 4, were one win away from winning the Stanley Cup. Many Caps fans invaded T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. For those who couldn’t fly out there, the streets around Capital One Arena and throughout the District were full of red. With an entire region behind them, the Capitals were determined to end the series, the 26-year D.C. championship drought, and the 44-year long quest for that elusive Stanley Cup.
Even the long Vegas introduction saw the Knight falter. Our fellow photographer Brittany even pointed out this was the first time that’s ever happened.
Date: June 7, 2018
Result: 4-3 CAPS!
The teams played to a scoreless first period the fireworks would come in the second. Things got started with a breakaway goal by Jakub Vrana.
The Knights tied it with a goal from….. Nate Schmidt before the Caps answered with a Nicklas Backstrom to Alex Ovechkin connection.
The Golden Knights responded with goals from David Perron and Reilly Smith to go up 3-2 entering the final period. There were no nerves though around Washington. I was outside Capital One Arena with my dad on this night. I turned to him and made this bold statement:
“We will win 4-3. Two more goals and we’re Stanley Cup champions.”
Devante Smith-Pelly tied it in the third with an incredible goal. A puck battle along the boards saw the puck tread backwards toward Brooks Orpik. Orpik shot it, Smith-Pelly got it and shot it through while falling down. It was the third straight game he scored.
The Caps would take the lead for good from the one who started it all. Lars Eller scored the most important goal of the playoffs back in Game 3 of the first round that kept the season alive. The Tiger struck again. After a shot from Brett Connolly, the puck sat right behind Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Eller pounced at the opportunity and pushed it through.
As time ticked off there was just one final face-off left. Ovechkin waited on the bench with eager anticipation with .6 seconds left. Once the puck was drop and the horn was sounded, it was over. The Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup.
After the handshakes came the trophy presentation. First up was the Conn Smythe Trophy which was bestowed on our captain Alex Ovechkin for the playoff MVP. He deserved it. He truly stepped up as a leader and it paid off in the end. Then came the Stanley Cup. Look at the expression on Ovi’s face! Of course, the first person he handed the Cup off to was Backstrom. They’ve been through a lot together and finally they reached the mountaintop.
Hugs happened everywhere, from the ice, to the stands, to the streets. Tears were shed, including mine. Words can’t even describe the incredible feeling of seeing a team you grew up rooting for, a team you saw at the bottom of the league when you started following sports reach the pinnacle. We all have stories on how long you’ve been a Caps fan, all the heartbreak that was endured and how much winning the Stanley Cup means to you. We would love to hear yours!
Tonight will be a special night. We get to raise a banner commemorating this magical run. Whether you’re lucky enough to be inside the building, outside the building, at a bar, or at home, it will be a night none of us will forget.
Then the puck will drop and a new season will be upon us. Let’s do it again shall we?
Relive it all here:
5. “The Save”