WinView Games Playbook: Capitals vs. Golden Knights - June 7

WinView Games Playbook: Capitals vs. Golden Knights - June 7

WinView Games Playbook: Capitals vs. Golden Knights - June 7

"There's not a better group of guys that I'd want to be out there with".

They had just scored two goals in seven minutes, the first being what felt like the umpteenth time of the playoffs that they answered an opponent's score immediately. "We just won it". We worked so hard through all the years.

The Knights have never lost four consecutive games in their inaugural season.

"I think any big play is going to be a turning point", Holtby said.

The Capitals had not advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs since the 1998 Cup final when they were swept by Detroit, but defeated Columbus, arch-rival Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay before downing expansion Vegas this spring.

Washington star Alex Ovechkin skated onto the Vegas side of the rink during pregame warmups, narrowly avoiding Marc-Andre Fleury as the goaltender was stretching along the boards before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

And so they did, with a beaming Ovechkin winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs. The championship is the first by a Washington professional sports team in the NFL, NBA, NHL or Major League Baseball since the Redskins won the Super Bowl on January 26, 1992, and came 40 years to the day the Bullets won basketball's title.

"Getting to score the game victor", said Eller. "I don't think it's pressure on us".

The Golden Knights were the surprise of the National Hockey League this season, winning the Pacific Division and rolling all the way to the Stanley Cup Final against Washington. The aging 37-year-old Orpik, born six months after the United States Olympic team "Miracle on Ice" and who was named after that team's coach Herb Brooks, struggled through the regular season with a plus-minus rating of minus-nine. Shortly after, Dmitry Orlov fumbled the puck in the defensive zone and Ovechkin was forced to take a penalty that Vegas' Reilly Smith capitalized on for a 3-2 lead.

But the Knights responded once again 2:42 later, this time on a insane play where Tomas Tatar redirected Miller's shot in off Perron, who was battling with Capitals defenceman Christian Djoos and eventually ended up in the net with the puck for his first of the post-season. "Even after the [second] period, we knew we just have to push it and get the result done".

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However the Capitals have three spots free on their engraving list to dish out as they see fit, and the historical significance of Walker being a member of the team puts him in good stead for consideration.

Nicklas Backstrom - The Capitals centre, playing with an injured hand, was on the wrong end of shot metrics (4 for, 19 against, 17.4 CF%, 0-8 scoring chances) and missed an empty net that could have sealed the deal late in the third period, but also had a ridiculous pass to set up Alex Ovechkin for Washington's second goal.

The heroes, Eller and Devante Smith-Pelly, were unlikely ones. "You couldn't write the story better".

It was truth, not fiction.

After Vegas won the Final opener, the Capitals capped their four-game surge by rallying from a third-period deficit in this cathartic Game 5, banishing any memory of playoff failure with clutch goals and rugged play across their lineup.

"It doesn't matter what happened before", Ovechkin said through his gap-toothed grin.

"Just like all great goaltenders, you go through some dry spells in your game where you lose your way a little bit and your foundation", Trotz said.

They are champions, at last.

"Ovie had a different step tonight", said Caps winger T.J. Oshie.

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