(WINDSOR, ON) – It’s been a long time coming for the Washington Capitals and their European import, captain Alex Ovechkin. But, as King Solomon once stated in antiquity, “To everything there is a season, and a season for everything.”
By knocking off the upstart Vegas Golden Knights 3-1, while playing at home Sunday, in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in 13 years, the Caps made it special.
It was so largely because Washington earned the win the old fashion way.
Ovechkin, and his game winning sniper, Evgeny Kuznetsov, led the charge by muscling, checking, and sliding their way to victory with reckless abandon.
Ovechkin, the 2004 1st round, 1st pick overall, out of Moscow, who scored his 14th goal of the 2017-18 playoffs and 60th of his career, flew over defenceman Brayden McNabb, at 1:10 of the 2nd period, beating Fluery. The tally tied the franchise record set in 1990 by John Druce.
Washington head coach, Barry Trotz, was especially pleased that Ovi scored the first goal at home, as a form of justice for all of the trials and tribulations the team has recently faced.
His efforts were contagious, as demonstrated by Russian countrymen Kuznetsov’s exuberance when he scored the game winner, also in the 2nd. The 26 year-old, whose career points can be extrapolated to match those of Ovechkin’s over the length of their respective careers, also added an assist in the win.
Ovechkin banged his way to offensive success, and also joined a cadre of Washington players who dropped in front of several shocks as though they were at a junior hockey combine trying to win the attention of NHL scouts.
Vegas, not to be completely shut out of this one, gained a bit of momentum early in the 3rd frame when Pierre-Edouard Bellemare intercepted an outlet pass by Washinton netminder, Braden Holtby, and slipped it to Tomas Nosek for a cherry picker of a goal.
However, before the ghost and demons of missed opportunities past could rattle the bones of the Capitals, Devante Smith-Pelley scored the insurance goal with 6:07 remaining in regulation. Jay Beagle stripped Shae Theodare to slide the disk to Smith-Pelley, who had an opportunity to walk in on Fluery.
The Vegas goalkeeper was pulled with 2 minutes left as the Golden Knights did their best to avoid their 2nd consecutive loss to Ovechkin and company.
The Caps are now 120 minutes away from silencing the Vegas story book season.