Washington Capitals win Stanley Cup after beating Vegas Golden Knights 4-3

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Alex Ovechkin can breathe easy. And Ovechkin, a transcendent talent and the greatest goal-scorer of his generation, validated his legacy with an elusive Cup after so many years of playoff heartbreak.

"Since Day 1 of training camp, we really play for each other, we work for each other and we really try to help the young guys, older guys - it doesn't matter", Kuznetsov said.

"It's pressure off", Jaromir Jagr, who played for the Capitals from 2001 to '04, told ESPN about what it means for Ovechkin to win a Cup.

That sent the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Final, where they were once again underdogs, this time against an expansion team. "It's something I can't explain how I feel".

And the first player he handed it to? I felt like home in Washington nearly initially from when I got there. "It was a special moment".

League veteran Alex Ovechkin not only secured his elusive first Stanley Cup win as a player, but took out the Conn Smythe trophy after being adjudged the playoffs MVP.

Less than a year ago the Golden Knights had both a general manager and a coach - but nearly no players. But with three chances to get one win, Ovechkin and his teammates want to seize their very first opportunity for the clincher on the Las Vegas ice. No one had even expected a playoff appearance.

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.

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Washington struck first, almost seven minutes into the second period, when Czech forward Jakub Vrana scored on a breakaway with a wrist shot over Fleury's left elbow.

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. "We have to concentrate, and we have to play our best to get it done".

The defense in front of Las Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury did him no favors, but he also wasn't his usual self in allowing six goals on only 23 shots. Eller's goal broke a 3-3 tie. His 15th of the playoffs put the Caps up 2-1.

Lars Eller grabbed the rebound, pushed it into an empty net, and skated into Capitals history.

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 Golden Knights were 10-0 in this postseason when leading after two periods, but the Capitals overcame that number too.

The goals kept coming - and from unlikely sources.

Nate Schmidt and David Perron also scored deflection goals for Vegas in the second period, but Fleury's 29 saves included a stopped puck that dropped underneath him where Eller could sweep it home for the Cup-winning goal.

It's not like inserting Holtby immediately made the Capitals a juggernaut.

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Next up, some Washington Capitals t-shirts.

The defeat ends the incredible 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.

The Vegas Golden Knights are 20 minutes away from forcing Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Final.

And yet, on a night where every shot was destined for the back of the net, it didn't hold up.

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.

Devante Smith-Pelly - After scoring seven goals in 75 regular-season games, the Capitals winger recorded his seventh playoff goal, in 24 playoff games, to tie Game Five in the third period. Of those 28, the Capitals have blown such a lead five times - the most of any team.

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