Capitals beat Golden Knights to clinch maiden Stanley Cup title

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(Reuters) – The Washington Capitals won the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup for the first time in their 44-year history with a 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.

Jun 7, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) hoists the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vegas Golden Knights in game five of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena. Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

With the victory, the Capitals clinched the NHL’s best-of-seven championship series 4-1 and brought an end to what had been a magical inaugural season for the Golden Knights.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, playing in his first Stanley Cup Final, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the play-offs.

Danish forward Lars Eller scored the winning goal with under eight minutes left in Las Vegas when he slammed home a puck sitting at the top of the Vegas crease after it had trickled through goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s legs.

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Vegas pulled their goalie in favor of an extra attacker with two minutes to play but Washington withstood the late charge.

After a tight opening 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.

But the Golden Knights, who entered the game 10-0 in the playoffs when leading after two periods, were unable to hold the Caps at bay and the visitors tied the game midway through the third when Devante Smith-Pelly scored from in close as he was falling to the ice.

Eller then scored what proved to be the championship-deciding goal.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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