Capitals eager to end their title drought in Vegas desert

Capitals eager to end their title drought in Vegas desert

The biggest windfall at the draft came in the form of first-string netminder Fleury, 33, a three-time Stanley Cup victor who the Pittsburgh Penguins may have thought was washed up.

The Caps - who led the best-of-seven series 3-1 going into Game 5 - found themselves 3-2 down with 20 minutes left to play.

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

- Their power-play is 2 for 12 in this series, a trend which continues from the prior series where they were 2 for 11.

Ovechkin scored on a power play in the second period of Game 5's 4-3 win on Thursday night.

In the Ovechkin era, the list of Capitals heartbreak is long.

"It's like the franchise was star-struck", said David Poile, who was Washington's general manager from 1982-1995.

The total has gone under in 14 of the Capitals' last 18 games against Pacific Division teams. Just like that, the Capitals were back in the lead. Abe and Irene Pollin, the longtime owners of the Capitals and NBA's Bullets/Wizards, had to learn how to handle losing. "This is one memory that I don't think he's going to forget".

It was the first championship for a professional D.C. -based team in 26 years when the Washington Redskins won the Super Bowl. "In Canada, we try to act - most of the players try to act after you. you celebrate, (Ovechkin) celebrates". There was no such falloff this time.

Washington captain Alex Ovechkin scored his 15th goal of the post-season and was given the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.

"I'm part of history".

"This is what we dreamed of for years", Backstrom said. "I didn't even know the team". It's just something in it. I don't think I have ever been so calm throughout a playoff run.




Perron then tied it, 2-2, with his first goal of the playoffs when Tomas Tatar's redirect of a Colin Miller shot hit him just as he was shoved into the net by Washington defenseman Christian Djoos.

"We couldn't sell tickets", said Irene Pollin, now 93.

"We did it", The Washington captain said.

"I'm so happy for the group that has gone through the misery", said Washington coach Barry Trotz, a first-time champ in his 19th season behind an National Hockey League bench and a potential free agent without a contract for next season. Expansion teams aren't expected to still be playing this close to the summer solstice-just ask the Capitals, who won just eight games as an expansion team in 1974-but Vegas rolled on.

When they do get around to thinking about the future, and the past, the smiles will eventually come.

That became the Capitals' unwelcome hallmark. Vegas is 7-3 in its last 10 home games as moneyline favorite of -135 to -200, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

It was a dizzying display of offence and perhaps the best period of hockey so far in this final.

"Everything in Canada, we act like no other sport. and (Kuznetsov) - Is that his name? - whatever", Cherry said, pronouncing his name "Kuzeesov". Some broke out in a chant of "We - got - the Cup!" and others in one of "Let's - go - Caps!"

After years of postseason futility, the Washington hockey team finally had a breakthrough this season. The Capitals fell behind Columbus 2-0 in the first round, but them something seemed different when the puck pinballed off a defender and Eller and in to win Game 3.

"You get so close to the Cup and you miss a chance; it doesn't come every year", said Fleury, who lost the 2008 Stanley Cup Final as well. The Capitals are a +125 underdog, while the over-under is set at 5.5 goals.

Many expected the NHL's biggest surprise this season, Vegas, to continue its unbelievable run in its first year.

Even before the Capitals won, Langway was beaming with pride and said he has felt the same from fellow alumni. I'm in the right place. You're above stuff like that. Those who couldn't make it in filled the streets around the Capital's home rink to show support. Can Washington hoist the championship tonight or will Las Vegas extend the series?

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