Las Vegas, Nevada, USA: The Washington Capitals won their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history, rallying in the third period for a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Final in five games, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday night.
The Golden Knights had an improbable season, winning the Pacific division title in their first season and following that with a sweep of the Kings, a six-game elimination of San Jose and a surprising five-game Western Conference final triumph over Winnipeg.
But Washington, deep in star power and fortified by a mental toughness that previous Capitals teams had lacked, proved too solid defensively and too resolute for the Golden Knights to continue their improbable story.
Standout Washington winger Alex Ovechkin set a team record by scoring 15 goals in the playoffs and center Evgeny Kuznetsov led all playoff scorers with 32 points.
Washington won the series 4-1, capturing the final four games. They clinched all four of their playoff series away from home and finished with 10 playoff road victories, tying the NHL single-season record.
Jakub Vrana, Alex Ovechkin and Devante Smith-Pelly also scored goals for Washington, which entered the NHL in the 1974-75 season. Capitals goalie Braden Holtby finished with 29 saves.
Reilly Smith had a goal and an assist, and Nate Schmidt and David Perron also scored for Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves for Vegas.
The expansion Golden Knights ended their surprise season with the first four-game losing streak in franchise history.
After a scoreless first period that featured a shot by Ovechkin than clanged off the right post, the teams traded four goals over the span of 6 1/2 minutes midway through the second period.
With Ovechkin in the penalty box for tripping William Karlsson, Vegas then took its first lead just before the end of the middle period. Smith scored his fifth goal of the playoffs, firing in a shot into a wide-open left side of the net off a crossing pass by Alex Tuch.
Smith-Pelly, who scored the game-winning goal in Game 4, then tied it at the 9:52 mark of the third period, stopping a pass from the blue line by Brook Orpik with his skate in the slot and then beating Fleury with a wrist shot on his glove side while falling down to the ice. That set the stage for Eller’s game-winner.
Lars Eller’s rebound goal with 7:37 remaining broke a tie and proved to be the championship-winning goal in the Washington Capitals 4-3 championship win