Golden Knights, Las Vegas will forever share an impenetrable bond

Sherman Parsons
June 8, 2018

We have Game 5 game on tap tonight, where the Capitals have a chance to close out the series and win the hardest trophy in sports, Lord Stanley's Cup. Marc-Andre Fleury, long one of the top goalies in the league, stopped 29 of 33 shots, making several acrobatic saves. The first overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Ovechkin earned the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's rookie of the year that season.

On the strength of 15 goals and 12 assists by Conn Smythe Trophy victor Alex Ovechkin, however, Washington finally managed to slay its postseason demons. Braden Holtby stopped 28 shots.

The Golden Knights struck back less than three minutes later on a David Perron goal that the Capitals argued should have been disallowed for goalie interference.

Fleury stopped it, but the puck fell to the ice underneath him - and Eller fought off Luca Sbisa and slapped the puck into the net for the game victor. Not that the appreciation came anywhere close to overpowering the predominant feeling of Vegas fans - pain.

When they won the first game of the series it looked like the tale of an expansion team and its city would soar to new levels.

The Capitals went to the power play later in the period, but Fleury was there to stone Ovechkin on a one-timer before Smith Pelly evened things.

Fans packed D.C. streets after the Washington Capitals raised the Stanley Cup on Thursday night. "That started the kind of change around and turnaround, exactly that goal, because that just doesn't happen with the Capitals in the playoffs".

The defeat ended the storybook inaugural season of the Golden Knights, who became the NHL's 31st franchise last fall and immediately launched into arguably the greatest debut in modern pro sports history.

After a tight first period the game opened up in the second as the two teams combined for five goals over a frenetic stretch of end-to-end action that saw Vegas twice erase one-goal deficits before pulling ahead 3-2.

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After missing the playoffs in their first eight seasons, there was a "Save the Caps" campaign in 1982 just to keep them around and in Washington.

Evgeny Kuznetsov picked up and assist, bringing his NHL-high post-season point total to 32. Ten of Ovechkin's goals came on the road.

Ovechkin restored Washington's lead 34 seconds later when he one-timed a cross-ice pass from Nicklas Backstrom over Fleury's right leg for his franchise-record 15th goal of the playoffs.

Their story had been too good, their season way too magical.

However, the hosts could not hold on to their lead with Devante Smith-Pelly equalising - before Eller scored what proved to be the championship-deciding goal.

With temperatures hitting 37 C outside T-Mobile Arena, the heat was turned up before the opening faceoff as Ovechkin and Fleury exchanged not-so-friendly love taps near centre ice in warmups, but nothing really materialized out of the exchange.

- The Capitals had three different players with two or more assists in Game 4, a trend which they haven't seen this series, but had at times earlier in the postseason.

Vegas played with that kind of an edge throughout Thursday night's elimination game, but unfortunately for Tuch and his teammates, it wasn't enough.

Winning just one game against the expansion Golden Knights already made this the most successful season in the history of a franchise that began in 1974-75.

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