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The Washington Capitals raced off their bench Thursday night to hug each other and simply yell when they couldn't find the right words, celebrating the burial of the franchise's sorry playoff past and the end of a playoff run that had nearly ended almost before it began.

Those extra concessions certainly helped the Golden Knights but they still needed to pick the right players, and, despite referring to themselves as the "Golden misfits", contain plenty of big-name players, none more so than three-time Stanley Cup winning goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Golden Knights wrap up a storybook year, advancing all the way to the final in their first year of existence. Inspirational. An example of the power of unity.

Lars Eller scored the game-winning goal at 12:23 in the third period, and in the final moments, it became quite clear that this was indeed going to be the Caps' year.

"I love these guys".

Oshie said he couldn't have done it without steadfast support from Tim, who served as a coach for one of T.J.'s childhood teams in Everett.

Perron then tied it, 2-2, with his first goal of the playoffs when Tomas Tatar's redirect of a Colin Miller shot hit him just as he was shoved into the net by Washington defenseman Christian Djoos. We worked so hard through all the years and we were together.

"After some time passes and we get over losing this, we're all going to look back and be really proud of this group and what it accomplished".

They had to revamp the roster last season because of salary cap concerns, and general manager Brian MacLellan wasn't sure what he had after he added some grit here and there and had to trust young players.

"We just want one championship in D.C.", said Omar Collins, 22, a Rockville native.

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. In doing so, Ovechkin became the first Russian-born player to captain a team to the most coveted prize in hockey.

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For the first time in their 44-year history, the Washington Capitals are playing for a chance at the Stanley Cup.

"It meant everything", Ovechkin said. "I've never seen the commitment from start to finish like we had here".

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.

Much of the answer lies in who the owner, Bill Foley, hired as the club's first general manager in the summer of 2016.

The tally survived a review, even though the Washington Capitals unsuccessfully challenged David Perron's tying goal for goalie interference.

Their story had been too good, their season way too magical. In years past, they didn't get secondary scoring and this year, contributions came from throughout the lineup. And there was reason to believe they might experience it again Thursday, when Vegas carried a 3-2 lead into the third period.

Czech forward Jakub Vrana had the other Capitals goal as he opened the scoring in the second period after the teams failed to produce a goal in a tight-checking first period. Eller, Ovechkin, Smith-Pelly and more in Scott Cullen's Statistically Speaking.

It was truth, not fiction.

The Golden Knights are 10-0 this postseason when leading after two periods, as they do 3-2 against Washington in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

"It's just great, I'm so happy for".


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