When Was the Last Washington, D.C. Sports Championship?

08 June, 2018, 07:04 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Caps on cusp of Cup after Washington takes 3-1 series lead in Stanley Cup Final

Thursday night's Stanley Cup victory brought scenes of joy and jubilation across the region, but the happiest man was the one who first accepted the trophy.

Smith-Pelly tied the game 3-3 at 9:52 of the third period when he stopped Brooks Orpik's point shot with his skate and slide his seventh goal of the playoffs beyond an outstretched Fleury. The Vegas goaltender let it leak through his pads, and Eller was waiting behind him to score on the wide-open net.

Over the next 18 seasons, the Capitals returned to the playoffs 12 times but their string of blows kept coming. Smith-Pelly barely controlled the puck and stretched out to fling it toward the net while falling face-forward, and it slipped inside Fleury's post for the veteran forward's seventh goal of the postseason - matching his total from the entire regular season.

The Capitals had reached the Cup Final once previously, in 1998, when they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings.

A scoreless first period gave way to a wild second period with five goals, two ties and a lead change that temporarily put the Golden Knights ahead. After the game, league commissioner Gary Bettman described it as "the best first year any team has ever had". The Caps lead the best of seven series three games to one.

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"Obviously, this emotion is just unbelievable", Ovechkin said. The Caps challenged for goalie interference, but were denied.

Ovechkin and his friends had other ideas. Time for him to turn it around one more time at home.

The Capitals' 43-year wait was ended by a star who traveled his own 13-year journey to lifting the cup.

The Capitals had to fend off a flurry of Vegas chances midway through the first period.

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