Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

No fairytale ending for Golden Knights' inaugural season

No fairytale ending for Golden Knights' inaugural season

But the Golden Knigths, who had lost just three times in the first three rounds of the playoffs, ran out of magic against a Capitals team that was too fast, too physical and seemed to be on a path of destiny after finally defeating the Penguins in the second round. So how did they put together a team good enough to finish fifth in the overall standings during the regular season, and make it to the finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs? Inspirational. An example of the power of unity.

The storybook season of the Vegas Golden Knights came to a somewhat abrupt end on Thursday night as the Washington Capitals came from behind and won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history with a 4-3 victory in Game 5.

His father was diagnosed with Alzhiemer's in 2012. "There's not a better group of guys that I'd want to be out there with". When they fell behind 0-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round, a familiar feeling was creeping in. "We worked hard tonight, we competed hard, just couldn't beat that team". If you start thinking that we have to win three games, sometimes it gets demoralizing.

"I think any big play is going to be a turning point", Holtby said humbly. Little did they know it would take almost 15 years from Ovechkin's draft day for it to finally become a reality.

Washington coach Barry Trotz agreed.

Washington is your Stanley Cup champion, deserved in every way.

The moment everyone was waiting for came when National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman, who was indeed booed as he entered the ice, handed Capitals captain Ovechkin the Stanley Cup. The vaunted goal-scorer can also succeed where a generation of Washington athletes have fallen short by leading the Capitals to their first title and the city's first major pro sports championship in a quarter-century.

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"It means everything", Ovechkin said. "I think this moment we were waiting a long, long time".

According to oddsmakers, the Golden Knights are a -145 favorite on the moneyline. They had achieved so much when so little was expected of them, but making it to the Final wasn't consolation for them. It didn't take the Washington Capitals long to learn that.

After striving through 13 of his franchise's 43 seasons, the Russian superstar and the long-suffering Capitals are sitting on top of hockey for the very first time.

When Ovi got the Cup back, he handed it to Ted Leonsis, the Caps' owner since 1999. "This group went through a lot of pain, especially a year ago". The teams had twice traded goals in the second period, with Washington's Jakub Vrana (breakaway), Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt (on a deflection), Ovechin scoring from his "office" in the left circle during a power play and Vegas' David Perron joining the puck in the net in a span of just over 6 1/2 minutes.

Vegas grabbed their first lead of the game with 29 seconds left in the period when Reilly Smith scored a powerplay goal into a wide open net with Capitals goalie Braden Holtby out of position and Ovechkin off serving a tripping penalty.

Not this time. Devante Smith-Pelly, who came to Washington's training camp last fall without a contract, tied it at 9:52 of the third as he tumbled to the ice. "You couldn't write the story better yourself ... getting to score the game-winner, five minutes left or whatever".

It was truth, not fiction. "We're focused on this year, and obviously once all is said and done or whatever happens, you can look back on it".

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