Capitals finally fulfill expectations, await Golden Knights

Updated May 25, 2018 - 5:57 pm

TAMPA, Fla. — Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin didn’t need to say a word to each other after the Washington Capitals clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Final with a Game 7 win over the Lightning on Wednesday.

“We just kind of looked at each other,” Backstrom said of his teammate since he entered the league with the Capitals in 2007. “We’ve been waiting a long time for this, and now we’re here in the finals and we’re going to do everything we can to do something special here for us, for the team and for the city of Washington.”

Fans in the nation’s capital were loud enough for both of them. More than 10,000 supporters, tortured by more than a decade of cheering for a regular-season juggernaut that consistently crashed and burned in the playoffs, celebrated inside Capital One Arena as they watched the game on the scoreboard before taking the celebration outside.

It’s no surprise in a city so starved for sports success.

Washington never has won a Stanley Cup, and its only other trip to the finals was in 1998. The Capitals had failed to get out of the second round of the playoffs since Ovechkin joined the team in 2005.

The Redskins last won a Super Bowl in 1992. The Wizards haven’t won an NBA championship since they were called the Bullets in 1978, and the Nationals, like the Capitals a regular-season force the past few years, have yet to win a title. The Senators did win the 1924 World Series.

The Capitals hope to end the title drought against a Golden Knights team that’s without a championship since joining the league all the way back in October.

“Wearing this (Eastern Conference champions) hat and T-shirt is a dream come true, but we’re not there yet,” forward Andre Burakovsky said after scoring two goals in Game 7. “We have a long way to go. We’re playing a really good team here, so we’re going to just enjoy this moment for a bit and then go right back to work.”

The Capitals weren’t ready to start breaking down the matchup against Vegas immediately after the win over Tampa Bay. But they do remember they went 0-2 against the Golden Knights in the regular season.

“It’s an unusual matchup,” forward T.J. Oshie said. “I think the last 10 years have been dominated by a couple teams here, but you’ve seen what they were able to do in the regular season and especially what they’ve been able to do in these playoffs. They’re going to be a tough test.”

That test will come against some familiar faces. Former teammate Nate Schmidt is on the top defensive pairing for the Knights after being taken in the expansion draft by general manager George McPhee, who was the Capitals’ GM for 17 years.

“It’s special,” Backstrom said. “He (McPhee) was here for a long time, and he drafted a lot of us.”

McPhee’s Capitals teams had a lot of regular-season success. Now either he will finally lift the Stanley Cup or watch the team he helped assemble reach its expectations.

“I’m happy for us and proud of the guys here,” Oshie said. “I’m happy for the fans, too. They’ve been through some tough times with us and with teams in the past.”

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Edge: Knights In Flames After Loss To Calgary
Golden Knights fall to 7-2 to the Calgary Flames. Review-Journal sports writer Adam Hill and columnist Ed Graney go over the Knights loss before heading to Arizona to play against the Coyotes.
Golden Knights Forward Reilly Smith On 7-2 Loss
Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith talks to media about loss to the Calgary Flames.
Golden Knights Head Coach Gerard Gallant On Loss To Calgary
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media after their 7-2 loss against Calgary.
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Have Stellar Second Period Against Oilers
Golden Knights have stellar second period against the Edmonton Oilers on the road. Review-Journal sports writers Adam Hill and columnist Ed Graney break down the Knights 6-3 win over the Oilers.
Golden Knights Assistant Coach On Win In Edmonton
Golden Knights Defenseman Nate Schmidt On Win Against Oilers
Knights coach welcomes Schmidt back to lineup
Coach Gerard Gallant looks for contributions from Nate Schmidt as the defenseman returns to the Golden Knights lineup to start a road trip at Edmonton.
Nate Schmidt talks about his return after the morning skate
Nate Schmidt, returning to the Golden Knights lineup after serving a 20-game suspension, talks about his return after Sunday's morning skate. (Ed Graney/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Edge Knights Singing The Blues After Loss To St. Louis
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen and Adam Hill go over the Knights loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Golden Knights Gallant on the team's 4-1 loss to the Blues
Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant discusses the team's 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues and says what kind of impact he expects Nate Schmidt to make upon his return.
Coach Gerard Gallant Speaks After Morning Skate
Before playing the St. Louis Blues tonight Gerard Gallant speaks with the media after the Golden Knights morning skate at City National Arena | November 16, 2018.
Coach Gallant Speaks with the Media After Practice
City National Arena | November 15, 2018.
Golden Edge: Fleury Shuts Out Anaheim
Vegas Golden Knights beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-0. Marc-Andre Fleury gets his third shutout on the season in his shiny new pads. Adam Hill, Dave Schoen, and Ben Gotz report from T-Mobile Arena.
Gallant on the Golden Knights win over the Ducks
Gerard Gallant discusses how key the home victory over the Anaheim Ducks was for the Vegas Golden Knights.
Golden Knights after their 5-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks
Vegas Golden Knights players talk about the 5-0 win on their home ice over the Anaheim Ducks.
Gerard Gallant On Haula And Stastny Status
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallants speaks after practice about the status of Erik Haula and Paul Stastny.
Golden Edge: Alex Tuch Interview
Adam Hill and Ben Gotz interview Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch.
Golden Edge Mailbag With Alex Tuch
Golden Knights' Alex Tuch is LIVE in-studio for our VGK Mailbag with reporters Ben Gotz and Adam Hill!
Golden Edge: November 12 Practice
Ben Gotz and David Schoen discuss Nate Schmidt's return to practice, Gallant's absence, and Erik Haula's injury.
Nate Schmidt On Suspension
Golden Knights Defenseman Nate Schmidt talks about his suspension.
Golden Edge: Knights Coming Home After Loss To Boston
Golden Knights beat writer David Schoen goes over the Knights loss to the Boston Bruins.
Golden Edge: Pacioretty makes his return to Montreal
Max Pacioretty makes his return to Montreal, but it is former Golden Knight Tomas Tatar who scores the game winner for the Canadiens defeating the Knights 5-4. David Schoen reports from Montreal.
Golden Edge: Knights Beat Senators On The Road
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Golden Knights win against the Senators.
Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt discusses his suspension
Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt discusses his suspension after practice in Ottawa (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gallant on Toronto loss
Gallant on Pacioretty
Gallant on how season has gone
Pacioretty on possible return
Golden Edge: Knights Shutout the Hurricanes
The Golden Knights defeat Carolina 3-0, with Marc-Andre Fleury marking his 50th career shutout. Adam Hill and Ed Graney report from T-Mobile Arena.
Marc-Andre Fleury and William Carrier on the Knights Win Over Carolina
November 3, 2018 at T-Mobile Arena.
Coach Gallant Presser
Gerard Gallant speaks after the Knights defeat Carolina 3-0 at T-Mobile Arena November 3, 2018.
Golden Edge: Knights Feeling Blue After Loss In St. Louis
Golden Knights beat reporter David Schoen goes over the Knights 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Gallant and Marchessault on Perron
Coach Gerard Gallant and Golden Knights Jonathan Marchessault comment on former Knights player David Perron (Dave Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Coach Gerard Gallant on former Knights player David Perron
Coach Gerard Gallant on former Knights player David Perron (Dave Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marchessault on Perron
Gallant on consistency after a loss to the Nashville Predators
Coach Gerard Gallant says the Golden Knights are playing well in stretches, but consistency has been a problem. (David Schoen/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fleury on commercial
Marc-Andre Fleury talks about a commercial that features him in disguise as Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
VGS themed games from AGS at G2E Global Gaming Expo
A Golden Knights-themed slot machine was on display Tuesday at the G2E Global Gaming Expo as AGS showed two products that came out of a 3-year contract with the Knights. A video roulette game featuring a Knights helmet and an enormous slot machine were on the floor along with Knights cheerleaders, the Drumbots and Chance, the Knights' mascot. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights talk after practice
Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Pacioretty and Cody Eakin in the locker room on Wed. October 3, 2018.
Vegas Golden Knights show support at blood drive
Members of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team showed up for a community blood drive on the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting, Oct. 1, 2018. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects
Lucas Elvenes is ranked as one of the Golden Knights' top prospects after a breakout season in Sweden. He slid to the fifth round in the 2017 draft after being projected to be selected much higher. “I wasn’t happy about being a fifth-rounder. But it was good for me, too, because I didn’t have so much pressure when I came here," Elvenes said. Elvenes posted five goals and 16 points in 28 games while playing in the top league in Sweden. The Knights signed Elvenes to a three-year, entry-level contract in June.
Golden Knights rookie camp - Day 2
The Golden Knights held their second day of rookie camp at City Arena in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like