Washington Capitals advance to Stanley Cup Final

The Washington Capitals have finally done it. With a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning the Capitals will play the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Capitals took down the Lightning 4-0 in the series-deciding Game 7 in Tampa Bay despite blowing a 2-0 lead earlier in the series. Braden Holtby turned aside 29 shots for the shutout win while Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Andrei Burakovsky each scored goals in the win.

It’s the first time since 1998 that the Capitals will play for the Stanley Cup and it’s the first time they’ve reached the big stage in the Ovechkin era. Previously, the Caps had continuously failed to get beyond the second round of the playoffs getting labelled as chokers. But this year after finally beating the Penguins, it seemed like it was Washington’s year to make a run.

You can see the relief on the faces of the players. For hie entire career, whether in the NHL or in international play, Ovechkin has come up short. But finally he’ll have a chance to win the most difficult championship in hockey. The only team left in the way is the Vegas Golden Knights, the shocking expansion team who nobody seems to be able to beat.

Another interesting storyline in the Cup Final will be the fact that the Golden Knights were constructed by Washington’s former general manager George McPhee. McPhee was fired for not being able to get over the hump with the Caps but then got the keys to the expansion Golden Knights and put together an inexplicably successful roster now challenging to be arguably the most shocking team ever to win a Cup.

No matter what happens this year we’ll have a new Stanley Cup Champion. Will it be the Capitals who have suffered for years? Or will it be the surprising Golden Knights?