It has been a long wait for Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, but they can finally call themselves Stanley Cup champions.
Lars Eller scored a goal with 7:37 to play in the third period Thursday and Ovechkin also scored earlier to give Washington a 4-3 victory against the expansion Vegas Knights in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals, ESPN reported. After 44 seasons, the Capitals won their first Stanley Cup, and it was the first NHL crown for Ovechkin, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs MVP. Ovechkin scored 15 goals and added 12 assists during the postseason.
The Capitals won their first Stanley Cup after 3,701 games -- regular and postseason -- and 28 postseason appearances, The Washington Post reported.
It is the first title for the Washington area in the four major sports -- NHL, NBA, NFL or Major League Baseball -- since the Washington Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI in January 1992.
"Obviously, this emotion is just unbelievable," Ovechkin told reporters after the game. “I can't imagine what's happening right now back in Washington. It's gonna be so crazy. I'm so happy for team, for our organization. We've been waiting for so long, and finally we got the result and we got the Cup.”
Washington became the second team in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup after trailing in every round of the playoffs, joining the 1990-91 Pittsburgh Penguins, the Post reported. The Capitals also became the fifth team in league history to win 10 road games during the playoffs.
The Capitals debuted in the NHL in 1974-75 and won just eight games that season. Ovechkin, drafted No. 1 in the 2004 NHL draft by Washington, had been frustrated by nine postseason appearances that ended short of the conference final. That ended this season, as the Capitals eliminated Columbus, defending champion Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay to reach the championship round. After losing Game 1 to the expansion Golden Knights, Washington won the next four games to take home Lord Stanley’s Cup.
"At the beginning of the year, we said we weren't going to be second," Ovechkin said.
His prediction came true Thursday night.