The Washington Capitals are your 2018 Stanley Cup Champions! (Yes, let that sink in)
Last night, the Caps finally brought glory back to D.C. in an absolutely thrilling Game 5 of the Stanely Cup Finals. Coming into the game up 3-1 in the series, the Capitals had the opportunity to bring Lord Stanley’s Cup to the District with just one more win- and boy did they deliver.
There were missed chances, questionable calls, shots ringing off the iron, and plenty to give Capitals faithful reason to worry in this game that had the Caps on the cusp of history. The first period ended deadlocked at 0-0, although there was plenty of action to be had. Tom Wilson was on the ice absolutely freight training people. Later, Ovechkin rang the iron on a beautiful shot that could’ve given the Cap the lead, yet the game remained tied.
The Caps opened the scoring in the second period off of Jakub Vrana’s goal, but that was quickly answered by the Knights. Former Capital Nate Schmit was credited with a goal that went off of a friendly skate, between Holtby’s legs, and into the net. Tie game. That goal was answered in 34 seconds by Capital’s Captain Alex Ovechkin on the Power Play. At this point, it felt like destiny. The Caps got it back! They can hold this, right? Not exactly.
About a minute and a half after Ovi’s go ahead goal, the Knight’s Perron scored on a questionable non-call for Goalie Interference. The Caps bench challenged the call that was eventually upheld. Then, on the power play, Vegas scored another goal on a fantastic pass from Tuch to Smith. The pass set Smith up with a wide open net to shoot on with 29 seconds left in the period. The Caps would go into the second intermission down by a goal, with 20 minutes left to try and end this series right here and now. Anxiety levels were running extremely high among the Capitals fans.
Yes, they were up 3-1 in the series, but every true Caps fan knows that no lead is safe (especially a 3-1 lead). And they would be lying to you if there wasn’t at least the slightest seed of doubt in the back of their minds going into the 3rd period down a goal. Then, right on cue, enter Devante Smith-Pelly doing his best impression of Ovechkin’s “the goal”- sliding, falling, and still burying the puck in the back of the net. Tie game- and what an absolutely EPIC way to tie this game about half way through the 3rd period.
The Caps weren’t done, not by a long shot. With 7:37 left in the 3rd, Lar’s Eller (who we are pretty sure is now the president of Denmark) scored on a fantastic chance created by heads-up play. Brett Connolly shot a puck on net that squirted through Marc-Andre Fluery’s legs. With Fluery resting just outside of his crease, there was plenty of room for Eller to sneak in behind and bury the puck in the net. Could he be the hero of the night?
With just a couple minutes left in the game, the Knight’s pull the goalie and are surging for a tying goal. Amidst the chaos, it seemed the clock operators tried to pull their best Super Bowl 48 impression and the clock just disappeared as play rolled on. With about 28 seconds left (we think) play was stopped and the officials took some time to work out the clock situation, essentially giving the Knights another timeout to rest up for one last push. It wouldn’t matter.
The Caps played great defense, won the puck, and iced it with six tenths of a second left on the clock- basically sealing the deal. The Washington Capitals had won the Stanley Cup for the first time in team history!!! In one of the best celebration ceremonies in all of sports, Caps fans simultaneous got chills watching Alexander Ovechkin hoist the Cup up over his head after 14 years of hard work and dedication to this team and this fan base. Ovi was also awarded the Conn Smythe trophy for being the most valuable player trough the Stanley Cup Playoffs, helping solidify his role as one of the top players in this league. Hopefully, this win is something this team will build on in the years to come.
Capitals fans around the globe have waited 44 years for this, and it is just as glorious as they had hoped it would be. This team, these fans… anyone who tells you D.C. isn’t a hockey town is out of their mind. It still doesn’t feel real, but it’s as real as it gets folks. It’s time to enjoy this long deserved win and bask in the glory that is the 2018 Washington Capitals. C. A. P. S. CAPS! CAPS! CAPS!