Capitals win first Stanley Cup with 4-3 victory over Knights

Updated June 7, 2018 - 11:43 pm

Erik Haula skated away from his teammates and cut a solitary figure at T-Mobile Arena as he rested on one knee.

The Golden Knights forward stared straight ahead, forcing himself to watch the celebration at the opposite end of the rink.

“The whole season kind of flashes by your eyes,” he said. “It’s tough.”

After smashing records and making an unexpected run to the Stanley Cup Final, the Knights’ inaugural season ended in cruel fashion Thursday night at the hands of the Washington Capitals.

Devante Smith-Pelly and Lars Eller scored 2:31 apart in the third period as the Capitals rallied for a 4-3 victory over the stunned and disappointed Knights.

Washington won the best-of-seven series 4-1 and captured the first championship in franchise history after 43 seasons of disappointment.

“I think we look back on this after we get some time to think about it, it’s obviously hard to talk about right now,” Knights forward James Neal said. “It’s pretty special, but just a little bit short. But proud of the guys.”

The Knights were picked by many to struggle but won the Pacific Division title and became the first expansion team to reach the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season since the 1967-68 Blues.

After rolling through Los Angeles, San Jose and Winnipeg, then winning Game 1 against the Capitals, the Knights lost four straight and were outscored 16-8 in that span.

It was their first four-game losing streak of the season.

“They played better than us on both sides of the puck. That’s the bottom line,” Haula said. “I guess they deserved to win. It’s tough to admit.”

Coach Gerard Gallant made several lineup changes prior to Game 5 in an effort to stave off elimination, and the Knights led 3-2 entering the third period after goals by former Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt and forwards David Perron and Reilly Smith.

But the Knights, who were 10-0 in the playoffs when leading after two periods, were unable to hold on to force a Game 6 in Washington.

Smith-Pelly scored for the third straight game to tie the game at 3 with 10:08 remaining in the third period. Brooks Orpik’s shot from the point was deflected, but Smith-Pelly swooped in and kicked the loose puck onto his stick before sliding it past Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Eller added the go-ahead goal with 7:37 left, taking advantage of a turnover down low by Knights defenseman Luca Sbisa. Fleury made the initial stop on Brett Connolly’s drive, but the rebound squirted free and Eller poked it in for his seventh of the postseason.

“I thought we had a great start to the third,” Neal said. “Just a couple plays we didn’t get the puck out on the blue line there. And when that happens, they found a puck in front of the net and banged it in. It’s hard, but that’s hockey. You’ve got to get pucks out when you have a chance. When you don’t, it comes back to bite you.”

Washington’s Alex Ovechkin scored in the second period and was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the MVP of the postseason. Jakub Vrana opened the scoring in the second period for the Capitals.

The Capitals led the NHL in victories over the past four seasons with nothing to show for it, but finally broke through in their first finals appearance since 1998.

Washington closed out all four series on the road and joins the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins as the only teams to win the Stanley Cup after trailing in all four series.

“It means everything,” Ovechkin said. “We have been waiting a long, long time, since Day One. … It was a tough time, but we fight through it and we get results.”

The Knights finally caught a few breaks in an action-filled second period, rallying from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits.

After Ovechkin put the Capitals ahead with a power-play goal midway through the period, Perron evened the score at 2, as he was credited with his first goal of the postseason with 7:04 left in the second.

Perron was battling Washington defender Christian Djoos in front, and Tomas Tatar’s redirection went off Perron’s body before Djoos dumped him into the Capitals’ net.

Washington challenged for goaltender interference, but the NHL Situation Room ruled that “Djoos caused Perron to contact (Washington goaltender Braden) Holtby before the puck crossed the goal line.”

“I thought they came out pretty hard and we pushed back right away,” Perron said. “We had a good second period.”

Smith put the Knights up 3-2 with a power-play goal with 28.2 seconds remaining in the second when Alex Tuch hopped on a loose puck in front and sent a no-look pass to Smith for the tap-in.

Neither team scored in a tight-checking first period, as the Knights were unable to make life difficult for Holtby.

The Capitals held a 9-7 advantage in shots on goal, and every shot the Knights fired on the Washington net came from distance.

Washington has the best scoring opportunity of the opening period when Ovechkin hit the post on a power play with 7:50 remaining after Colin Miller went off for interference.

“It’s the funnest time of my life and to come up short is tough,” Haula said. “It’s going to take a while to get over it, but I guess you’ve just got to go back to work and get back at it.

“Nobody believed in us. I don’t think there’s a single person who’s going to say that they did, except for the people who are here. It’s awesome. It’s a fun group of guys. It’s just tough to let it go.”

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Golden Knights Videos
Golden Knights Release Schedule For 2018-19 NHL Season
Golden Knights release schedule for 2018-19 NHL season. The Golden Knights will play five of their first six games on the road. The Knights are at Washington on Oct. 10 in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final and face Pittsburgh the following night. The NHL previously announced the Knights open the season at home Oct. 4 against Philadelphia.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, June 21
Golden Edge: Knights Take Home Four Awards
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond recaps the NHL awards where the Golden Knights won in four of the categories.
George McPhee On Winning General Manager Of The Year
Golden Knights General Manager George Mcphee talks about winning General Manager of the Year and the Golden Knights.
Deryk Engelland On Winning Mark Messier Award
Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland talks about winning the Mark Messier award how much impact a team can have on a community.
Gerard Gallant On Winning Jack Adams Award
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks about winning the Jack Adams award at the NHL Awards.
William Karlsson On Winning The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
William Karlsson goes over the Golden Knights season and him winning the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Las Vegas Morning Update - Tuesday, June 19
Golden Knights release 2018 preseason schedule
The Golden Knights will be back on the ice at T-Mobile Arena Sept. 16. The team’s 2018 NHL preseason schedule was announced Monday. Scheduled is a matchup with the L.A. Kings — Sept. 20 at Staples Center and Sept. 28 at T-Mobile. Two games against the Colorado Avalanche — Sept. 18 in Denver and Sept. 24 at T-Mobile. Two games against the San Jose Sharks — Sept. 22 at San Jose and Sept. 30 in Las Vegas. The team also announced it will hold its training camp at City National Arena beginning Sept. 13.
Golden Edge Look Ahead: What The Knights Next Season Will Look Like
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journals sports columnist Ed Graney and Adam Hill go over what to expect from the Golden Knights next season.
Las Vegas Morning Update - Thursday, June 14
Golden Edge: Golden Knights Stick Salute To Fans
The Vegas Golden Knights host a fan fest on Fremont Street to celebrate the teams achievements throughout the 2017-2018 season. Fans were treated to live entertainment, free Golden Knights merchandise and the players came out to see fans.
David Perron talks about becoming a free agent
Vegas Golden Knights winger David Perron talked to the news media a day after their season ended in the Stanley Cup Final. Perron said he wants to stay in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Knights' season ends, but accomplishments stand
Take a video tour through the Golden Knights' accomplishments in their inaugural season.
Golden Edge: Knights Reflect On Stanley Cup Loss
Golden Edge host Bryan Salmond recaps the Knights emptying their locker room and how the team feels about their season ending with a Stanley Cup loss.
Marc-Andre Fleury On Stanley Cup Loss
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks about the team losing in the Stanley Cup Final.
Golden Knights React To Stanley Cup Loss
The Golden Knights reflect on their Stanley Cup loss against the Washington Capitals in game five.
George McPhee Talks About The Future For The Golden Knights
Golden Knights general manager George McPhee goes over what the future holds for the team and the reality of certain players not being part of the team next season.
Gerard Gallant On Stanley Cup Loss And The Future
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant goes over the Knights Stanley Cup Final loss against the Washington Capitals and what the future holds for the team.
Golden Knights Empty Locker Room
The Golden Knights empty their locker room after losing the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals.
Review-Journal's Golden Knights covers
Golden Edge: Magical season comes to an end
Bryan Salmond, Ed Graney and Adam Hill talk about the end of the Golden Knights season, who fell 4-3 to the Capitals, losing the series in Game 5.
Golden Knights On Stanley Cup Final Loss
The Golden Knights react to their loss against the Washington Capitals in game five of the Stanley Cup Final.
Gerard Gallant On Losing The Stanley Cup Final
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant goes over the Golden Knights losing the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals.
Golden Knights fans give advice to their team
Golden Knights fans give advice to the team as they head into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final down 3-1 against the Washington Capitals. (Rochelle Richards/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights remain confident heading into Game 5
Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, Nate Schmidt and Erik Haula talk about their mentality heading into Game 5 down 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final.
Golden Knights struggling with Capitals blocking shots
Gerard Gallant and Ryan Reaves discuss how the Knights are trying to get past the Capitals blocking a lot of their shots.
Gerard Gallant focused on Game 5 in T-Mobile Arena
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media after practice ahead of Game 5.
Golden Knights reflect on going down 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, James Neal and Alex Tuch talk after losing Game 4 to the Washington Capitals and going down 3-1 in the series.
Marc-Andre Fleury on where the Knights must improve
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury talks about what he expects his team to improve on when the Knights return to Vegas for Game 5 after going down 3-1 in the series.
Gerard Gallant talks about a frustrating Game 4 loss
Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant talks to the media after losing to the Washington Capitals, going down 3-1 in the series.
Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final
Vegas Golden Knights fans party at Toshiba Plaza outside T-Mobile Arena before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Washington Capitals on May 30, 2018 in Las Vegas.
Crowd goes crazy moments before puck drop
The crowd at T-Mobile Arena goes crazy moments before the puck drops in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1
Golden Knights fans swarm T-Mobile Arena before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Washington Capitals, Monday, May 28, 2018 in Las Vegas. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves becomes Golden Knights' latest unlikely hero
Ryan Reaves has become the Golden Knights latest unlikely hero. Reaves scored the series-clinching goal in the Western Conference Finals. It was his first goal with the Golden Knights. It came after Reaves sat for Vegas' first nine playoff games. Now he's become a integral part of the team's forecheck. He gets his chance and he goes in there and he played great hockey. It’s not surprising.
Golden Knights’ Fleury tickles Wheeler’s ear during Game 3 scrum
Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury tickled Jets' Blake Wheeler during a scrum in Game 3. The scrum occured behind Vegas’ net with 2:34 left in the second period of the Golden Knights’ 4-2 victory over Winnipeg on Wednesday night Wheeler, whose helmet was off and had his back to the goalie, somehow seemed unfazed. The Golden Knights lead the Western Conference final series 2-1, and host Game 4 on Friday night.
Voices of Golden Knights players welcome visitors at McCarran airport
Four Golden Knights players will start delivering recorded messages this week as part of the “Voices of Vegas” program at McCarran International Airport.
Station Casinos offers free wagers on Golden Knights to win Cup
Station Casinos will offer free bets on the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup. The locals casino company announced a promotion offering free wagers ranging from $5 to $250 on the team who wins hockey’s most coveted trophy. Thousands of invited holders of Station’s Boarding Pass loyalty card will receive an offer by mail to swipe their cards Monday at kiosks at seven properties. A winning ticket could cash for up to $1,000. The Golden Knights are now the 4-1 co-favorites with the Nashville Predators to claim the NHL championship.
Vanderburg Elementary cheers on the Golden Knights with mascot Chance, Golden Aces cheerleaders
Students at Vanderburg Elementary wrote an original song for a #KnightUp contest from the Vegas Golden Knights. They won the contest and hosted Knights mascot Chance and the Golden Aces cheerleaders for a pep rally. Over 300 students came together to cheer on the Knights as they head into their fourth playoff game.
Golden Knights use fitness to grab 2-0 series lead
A day after beating the Kings 2-0 in double overtime, Golden Knights players credited their conditioning. "Your body is tired, but your mind is still racing," said forward Reilly Smith. "The crowd was unbelievable." A season-high gathering of 18,588 at T-Mobile Arena helped inspire the Knights to victory. "This is why we put in so much extra work all summer long," said defenseman Jon Merrill. "For a game like that." The series continues with Game 3 at Staples Center on Sunday night.
Knights success far exceeds LVCVA's tourism goals
Several months ago, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority set out to market the city as the sports capital of the world. With the addition of the Golden Knights and the Raiders, LVCVA saw the perfect opportunity to do so. The Knights' success and current Stanley Cup playoff run has resulted in a marketing marriage with Las Vegas that has been far more successful than anyone could have imagined. This season, the Knights have managed to unite the community and made hockey fans around the country take notice. “The Knights, in my mind, really put the exclamation point that we’re the sports capital of the world, not only what they’ve done on the ice in this historic season but how they brought the community together." Lisa Motley, director of sports marketing and special events for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Professional sports have been a staple for Las Vegas for decades with championship boxing matches, PGA golf tour events and the National Finals Rodeo. But big-league teams kept their distance from Nevada, due to lingering fears of sports betting somehow influencing games. "Las Vegas stands for something much more extensive and expansive now than what it once did" David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California's Marshall Sports Business Institute
Smith Glad To Be Back In Lineup
The Golden Knights forward missed 15 games with an upper-body injury, (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hunt Said Buses Are Where Hockey Team Unity Gets Fostered
The Golden Knights defenseman was fortunate to have avoided any accidents while riding the bus in his hockey career. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Saskatchewan Native Brayden McNabb On The Humboldt Bus Tragedy
The Golden Knights defenseman knows the area well where the junior hockey team’s bus collided with a truck Friday and left 14 people dead. (Steve Carp/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights raise banner honoring Oct. 1 shooting victims
Golden Knights raise banner honoring Oct. 1 shooting victims. On a night when the Golden Knights were looking to lock up the Pacific Division title and secure a championship banner, the team unveiled a banner of its own Saturday. The banner honors the 58 victims of the Oct. 1 Strip shooting. Knights majority owner and chairman Bill Foley and general manager George McPhee also were on the ice, along with the family of shooting victim Neysa Tonks.
Golden Knights playoff tickets go on sale Monday
The Golden Knights clinched a playoff spot Monday night, and now officials are revealing how fans can get tickets. The hottest tickets in town are going on sale Monday morning on the Golden Knights website. There will be less than 1,000 tickets made available for public sale at 10 a.m. Monday. Tickets will only be sold on a single-game basis. Are you planning to go to any Golden Knights playoff games?
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like