The Capitals, who had squandered 3-1 series leads five times in the previous 12 occasions they had led by that margin, weren't about to let go of this one.
Watch the replays in the video above this post's headline and decide for yourself: should the 2-2 goal count or was the wrong call made? They wanted to take their remarkable season one step further, but the Capitals were too good defensively, too strong mentally, too easily able to exploit holes in Vegas' defense. Confetti covered fans who filled Capital One Arena, and chants of "We Want The Cup!" became "We Got The Cup!" The expansion Golden Knights are hoping to extend their stunning, record-breaking season.
After no goals in the opening period, the offenses got rolling and then some with four goals in a heart-pounding 6:32 stretch.
After a tight first period, five goals were scored in the second as Jakub Vrana opened the scoring for the Capitals. We'll try to make it very, very family oriented.
Washington has a 3-1 series lead, one win away from the franchise's first Stanley Cup. "You'd rather have the odds in your favor, but I'm thinking about (Game 5)".
This time, the other 30 teams were only allowed to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters and one goalie.
After striving through 13 of his franchise's 43 seasons, the Russian superstar and the long-suffering Capitals are sitting on top of hockey for the very first time. After the game, league commissioner Gary Bettman Las Vegas' home crowd it was "the best first year any team has ever had". And if anyone's destined to cap off such a historic run in surreal fashion, it's the Golden Knights. At The Disco pregame concert, the Golden Knights are a slight favorite in Game 5. He noted the turnaround seasons this year by Colorado and New Jersey.
"It's like the franchise was star-struck", said David Poile, who was Washington's general manager from 1982-1995.
Expect more fireworks during the third period.
It's not like inserting Holtby immediately made the Capitals a juggernaut.
"When you get this close to the cup it's hard", Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said.
For a moment they were all kids again, big, sweaty, jubilant kids, living the moment they had played out in their minds in backyards and on rinks from Minnesota to Moscow and all points between.
Washington and Vegas combined for just seven shots while landing a total of 19 hits in the early going. Smith scored his fifth goal of the playoffs, firing in a shot into a wide-open left side of the net off a crossing pass by Alex Tuch. In doing so, Walker also became the first Australian to play in an NHL Playoff game, and the first Australian to score a point in one as well. After a grueling playoffs, the Caps knocked off the Las Vegas Golden Knights to bring home the Cup.
And the first player he handed it to? "We are Stanley Cup champions". I am in no way saying the Caps "lucked" their way into winning that series. We didn't get complacent once in this whole play-off.
Fan Jerrald Larkin, whose own daughter, Allyssa, played soccer with Brooke Hawley, said he started watching hockey in 1989 and was originally a Los Angeles Kings fan. The Washington Capitals have won 11 of their last 15 road games as an underdog.
They were underdogs heading into the Final and dropped the first game, but they battled back and took control. "We won, and it doesn't matter how we played or what happened before".
"He came in and he realized the league was changed and he changed as well", Holtby said.