Ryan Dadoun

Hockey Daily Dose

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Capitals Are Champions

Thursday, June 7, 2018


The Vegas Golden Knights were an amazing story this season, but after years of fantastic performances and playoff disappointments, the Alex Ovechkin-era Washington Capitals would not be denied now that they’ve finally reached the Stanley Cup Final.

 

There were moments Thursday night when it looked like Vegas would be able to extend the series and the Golden Knights did hold the lead going into the third period.  However, as Washington has done so many times in the 2018 postseason, they battled back.  Washington are the Stanley Cup champions despite trailing in every one of its playoff series.

 

Whether or not you subscribe to the belief that a star's legacy should be weighted against if he won the Cup, the fact of the matter is that being a champion clearly meant a lot to Ovechkin.  It meant a lot to all of them.

 

What happens next with the Capitals is still to be determined.  Much of the team will be back, but John Carlson is among those set to become an UFA while Tom Wilson headlines their list of RFAs, so there is some work to be done this summer.  For now though, they can enjoy the moment, especially given that this team knows better than most just how difficult it is for even an elite team to raise the Cup.

 

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WASHINGTON 4 VEGAS 3 (Capitals win finals 4-1)

 

Alex Ovechkin was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner.  He scored his 15th goal and 27th point in 24 playoff games on Thursday.

 

Lars Eller scored the Cup-winning goal at 12:23 of the third period.  It was just his 13th career postseason goal over 74 contests.

 

Devante Smith-Pelly also found the back of the net for the Capitals.  While he’s not known for his offensive contributions, he did score in each of Washington’s final three games.  He’s also set to become a RFA now that his one-year, $650K deal is complete.

 

Reilly Smith had a goal and an assist for Vegas.  He was one of the driving forces for the Golden Knights in the playoffs with five goals and 22 points in 20 games.

 

David Perron scored a goal at 12:56 of the second period.  It was the Golden Knights forward’s only marker of the 2018 playoffs.

 

Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 29 of 33 Capitals shots.  He was in the running for the Conn Smythe Trophy going into the finals, but he just couldn’t contain Washington.  The Capitals scored at least three goals on him in each game of this series.

 

At the other end of the ice, Braden Holtby saved 28 of 31 shots.  When the playoffs began, Philipp Grubauer was starting over him, but in the end Holtby proved to be a vital part of Washington’s postseason success.

 

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz is among those that is celebrating his first Stanley Cup championship.  He was a bench boss in 1,524 regular season games and 113 playoff contests to get to this point.  His contract is set to expire this summer, but it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see the Capitals re-sign him after he guided them to the Cup.



Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.
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