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In a flawless world, the ideal ending to the storybook season of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights ends with the Stanley Cup being the main attraction during a victory parade down the famed Las Vegas Strip.

You know that scrapbook inside your head where you keep the most important moments in your life?

Washington D.C.'s 26-year championship drought finally ended on June 7, 2018, when the Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in five games to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup. One of those goals came during their crucial Game Five win. The Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets and even the surprising Vegas Golden Knights were the sexy picks out of the Western Conference, while some backed the Penguins for a three-peat or even the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was an honourable sendoff for a team that ultimately fell short of its quest to do the impossible, but will still have achieved something that we will be talking about for years. We fight through it and we worked so hard through all the years.

"I don't think anybody saw us here", Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said recently. "So I think for sure we have the ability to prove people wrong. Years of breaking things down and trying again, breaking things down and trying again, and this group never gave up and we finally did it". Day and night difference for him and he has to be sharper in this game for them to have a chance. "We'll be ready for Game 5".

After Vegas won the opener, the Capitals capped their four-game surge by rallying from a third-period deficit in Game 5, banishing so many years of playoff failure with big goals and tenacious play across their lineup.

Washington's Cup-clinching win was its 10th on the road in this postseason, tying the National Hockey League playoff record and illustrating the superior toughness of this team.

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Within minutes of the Washington Capitals' first Stanley Cup ever, their victory was chalked up to "Russian meddling". They got clutch goaltending from Brayden Holtby, including his miracluous paddle save off Alex Tuch in Game 2 that seems to be the turning point of the series when viewed in the rear-view mirror. We're just focused on the next one. "We have to concentrate, and we have to play our best to get it done".

"I never want to forget that last second", coach Barry Trotz said.

"You just focus on the next game", he said. "But you bet your ass he's going to remember this one". There aren't many who believe the Golden Knights can do it, which is exactly how they like it.

They benefitted from taking part in the first expansion draft in the salary cap era, meaning fewer players from existing teams" squads were "protected' from being poached than had been the case in previous expansions. Nobody knew how much time was left.

BC-HKN-Stanley Cup, 1st Ld, 128URGENTCapitals beat Golden Knights 4-3, win their 1st Stanley CupAP Photo NVMT141, NVMT126, NVMT131, NVMT132, NVMT110, NVMT137, NVMT109, NVMT108, NVMT133Eds: APNewsNow.

- This is a tough one, but I'm guessing both teams won't want to take the first penalty, and we'll see a faster and cleaner first period to see how the offenses shake out.


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