Bet on Sports at 1vice.ag Bet on Sports-Join BetAnySports today!
Page 41 of 41 FirstFirst ... 31394041
Results 1,201 to 1,203 of 1203
  1. #1201
    Capitals win the Stanley Cup
    June 7, 2018


    LAS VEGAS (AP) Alex Ovechkin put both hands to his head and screamed while he left the bench and skated into the thick of the Washington Capitals' joyous celebration.

    And right before Ovechkin hoisted the Stanley Cup, the Washington captain put both hands on his head again in a gesture of disbelieving ecstasy.

    You can believe it, Ovi. So can the Washington fans whose championship drought is finally over.

    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.

    ''It doesn't matter what happened before,'' Ovechkin said through his gap-toothed grin. ''We just won it.''

    Lars Eller scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:37 to play, and the Capitals claimed their first NHL title with a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

    Ovechkin capped his playoff MVP campaign with an early power-play goal, and Devante Smith-Pelly tied it with a full-stretch goal midway through the final period of the Capitals' fourth consecutive victory over the Golden Knights.

    ''We did it,'' said Ovechkin, whose 15 playoff goals set a franchise record. ''That's all that matters. Look at the smiles on my teammates. This is something you'll never forget. This moment, I'll remember for the rest of my life. I'm so happy. It's unbelievable.''

    Vegas' incredible expansion season finally ended, and so did the Capitals' wait for a title since their debut in 1974. But after so many years of crushing disappointment for a team with a lengthy history of postseason failure, these Caps confidently won their fourth consecutive closeout game with a tenacious third-period comeback in Vegas.

    Ovechkin and his teammates are Washington's first championship hockey team - and their city's first champion in a major pro sport since the Redskins won the Super Bowl in early 1992.

    ''It doesn't come easy,'' said goalie Braden Holtby, who made 28 saves while outplaying three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury in the opposite net one final time. ''It took years. Years of heartbreak. 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.''

    After Ovechkin accepted the Conn Smythe Trophy, he received the Cup from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Ovechkin shouted ''Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!'' before skating away and hoisting the prize over his head for a victory lap in front of thousands of red-clad fans.

    When a succession of teammates finally got the Cup back to Ovi, he handed it to Ted Leonsis, the Caps' owner since 1999.

    ''I'm so happy for the group that has gone through the misery,'' said Washington coach Barry Trotz, a first-time champ in his 19th season behind an NHL bench and a potential free agent without a contract for next season.

    The Caps couldn't win a Cup without a little late weirdness, however: The game clock stopped working on the T-Mobile Arena scoreboards during the final minutes, and the Capitals angrily protested while they played on. Vegas never got close to a tying goal despite both teams getting an extra chance to rest while the officials checked on the timing. The clock finally hit zeros, allowing the Caps to storm the ice behind their net for a frenzied celebration.

    Reilly Smith scored a go-ahead goal late in the second period for the Golden Knights, who won seven of their first eight home playoff games before dropping the last two.

    ''When you get this close to the Cup, it's hard,'' Fleury said. ''Doesn't happen too often. It's very disappointing.''

    The defeat ended the storybook inaugural season of the Golden Knights, who became the NHL's 31st franchise last fall and immediately launched into arguably the greatest debut in modern pro sports history. Few expected the division title they delivered, and fewer still thought Vegas could challenge for a championship.

    Nate Schmidt and David Perron also scored deflection goals for Vegas in the second period, but Fleury's 29 saves included a stopped puck that dropped underneath him where Eller could sweep it home for the Cup-winning goal.

    ''It means everything,'' Eller said. ''You couldn't write the story better. If you're going to win on the road, I couldn't imagine a better place to do it.''

    Forward T.J. Oshie spent a moment in the celebration looking up for his father, Tim, who he said was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

    ''He doesn't remember a lot of stuff, but he's going to remember this,'' Oshie said. ''I've never seen a team come together like we did here. I've never seen the commitment from start to finish like we had here.''

    Washington's win was its 10th on the road in this postseason, tying the NHL playoff record and illustrating the superior toughness of this team. While past editions of the Caps created their team's reputation for postseason flops in part by losing five playoff series in which they had won three of the first four games, Ovechkin's latest group promptly closed out all four of its series this year on the very first try.

    The Caps also came back from series deficits in all four rounds and clinched all four series on the road.

    The remarkable Golden Knights hadn't lost four consecutive games in their entire inaugural season before the Caps rolled them.

    ''It's going to be a tough couple days,'' Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland said. ''You never want it to end like this.''

    The Capitals had thousands of fans in the Vegas crowd and a building full of supporters watching back home along with countless thousands outside in the crowded D.C. streets. They got a barn-burner of a finale befitting this thrilling series, with wild shifts of momentum before that bizarre clock incident that didn't appear to affect the outcome much.

    The Capitals' triumph also adds another chapter to a stretch of sweet relief for long-suffering, loyal sports fans across North America. The NFL's Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl in February, and baseball's Houston Astros won their first World Series last November.

    First-time titles are all the rage, and Ovechkin and the Caps have paid their dues for this one.

    Ovechkin, who turns 33 later this year, has been among the most exciting and productive players in his sport since joining the Caps in 2005. Yet for all of his goal-scoring prowess and athletic swagger, the Great Eight had never won an Olympic gold medal or a Stanley Cup title.

    But after becoming the fifth player in the last quarter-century to score at least 15 goals in a postseason, Ovechkin is a champion at last. He also became the first Russian captain to raise the Cup in NHL history.

    The title is also validation for Holtby, who has spent his entire NHL career in Washington. After several seasons of being measured unfavorably against Fleury and other goaltending greats despite his 2016 Vezina Trophy, the Saskatchewan native also has his long-sought ring - and his unbelievable stick save on Alex Tuch in Game 2 will ring forever in Caps history.

    Ovechkin put the Caps up 2-1 in the crazy second period of Game 5 when he set up in his customary spot in the left faceoff circle and put Nicklas Backstrom's cross-ice pass into a sliver of open net. But after Perron tied it with a deflection goal while falling into Holtby's net, Smith scored into an open net after Ovechkin went to the penalty box for tripping.

    Washington pressed early in the third, but didn't connect until Brooks Orpik flung the puck at the net against the run of play. Smith-Pelly barely controlled the puck and stretched out to fling it toward the net while falling face-forward, and it slipped inside Fleury's post for the veteran forward's seventh goal of the postseason - matching his total from the entire regular season.

    ''I've been dreaming about it since I was a little kid,'' Smith-Pelly said. ''The team, with so much change, you didn't know what to expect. We knew we could do something special, and we did.''

    Moments later, the Knights struggled to keep up with the Caps' puck movement and left Brett Connolly open for a shot. Fleury stopped it, but the puck fell to the ice underneath him - and Eller fought off Luca Sbisa and slapped the puck into the net for the game winner.

    NOTES: Washington is the 19th active franchise to win the Stanley Cup. The Caps were tied for the fifth-longest active Cup drought with Philadelphia, which won it in 1974. ... Ovechkin has 26 points in 26 potential series-clinching games in his career. ... The Knights made two lineup changes from Game 4, inserting Perron and William Carrier while scratching Ryan Reaves and Ryan Carpenter. Carrier hadn't played since the second round against San Jose, while Perron was a healthy scratch for only one game. ... The Knights scored eight goals in their four consecutive losses.

  2. #1202
    Kuznetsov and Holtby display value
    June 7, 2018


    LAS VEGAS (AP) Alex Ovechkin finally got to hoist the Stanley Cup. And then he raised the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the Stanley Cup Final.

    Fellow Russian linemate Evgeny Kuznetsov and goaltender Braden Holtby certainly did some heavy lifting of their own.

    In helping deliver a championship Washington had wanted for more than 40 years, Kuznetsov was arguably the Capitals' most instrumental player. The 26-year-old, fifth-year pro finished with a playoff-leading 32 points, including his 20th assist in Thursday night's series-clinching 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5.

    ''He was unbelievable,'' Ovechkin said of Kuznetsov. ''He makes the magic over there.''

    Holtby, overshadowed coming into the Final, bested three-time Stanley Cup champion goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. He not only allowed the Golden Knights just eight goals over the last four games, but won in Vegas twice.

    Holtby is now 45-37 in 82 career playoff appearances - all with the Capitals - while compiling a 2.04 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and six shutouts. That is the second-highest save percentage and fifth-best GAA in NHL postseason history among goaltenders with at least 50 outings.

    Washington coach Barry Trotz said it took losing the No. 1 role to Philipp Grubauer late in the regular season and the start of the postseason for Holtby to rediscover the foundation of his game he developed in Saskatchewan.

    ''Just like all great goaltenders, you go through some dry spells in your game where you lose your way a little bit and your foundation,'' Trotz said. ''We had a conversation and he was very respectful. He understood that he wasn't going to start in the playoffs. And he said, `If I get a chance to go back in, I'm gonna be really good for you.' And he was.''

    His unbelievable stick save on Alex Tuch to lock up a win in Game 2 will ring forever in Caps history.

    ''I think any big play is going to be a turning point,'' Holtby said humbly. ''It was a big play in the game, but the credit really goes to our guys because we didn't get complacent. We knew we could do something special and we did.''

    With Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Holtby leading the charge, Washington wasn't about to blow another 3-1 lead, an unwelcome feature of its postseason past. Prior to this season, the Capitals had lost five series when leading 3-1, the most in the NHL.

    After losing Game 1, the Capitals won four straight to win the Cup, outscoring the Golden Knights 16-8 along the way. For the series, Kuznetsov scored one goal and assisted on seven others, including Jakub Vrana's goal that opened the scoring for the Capitals in Game 5.

    ''Kuz is a great player, he's a really, really talented player,'' Vrana said. ''He can be the difference every game. He's just unbelievable.''

    While Trotz acknowledged Ovechkin's play and how much he's meant to the franchise, he said Kuznetsov single-handedly took over games for the Capitals and proved to be just as valuable during their championship run.

    So much so, he wasn't sure who was going to be named MVP of the Final.

    ''That was a toss-up for me, I thought they were neck and neck if you ask me who gets the Conn Smythe, I thought that's gonna be a tough choice,'' Trotz said. ''You probably have to split that in half for me.''

    Trotz said Kuznetsov is just scratching the surface, and the rest of the league is starting to find just how good he is.

    Kuznetsov, who finished the regular season with 27 goals and 56 assists, scored 12 goals and had 20 assists in the postseason. He was instrumental in Washington's 6-2 demolition of the Golden Knights in Game 4, when he registered four assists to tie a single-game Stanley Cup Final record.

    ''Since Day 1 of training camp, we really play for each other, we work for each other and we really try to help the young guys, older guys - it doesn't matter,'' Kuznetsov said. ''We just play for your partner and we compete every day.''

  3. #1203
    Column: Script flips on magical season for the Knights
    June 8, 2018


    LAS VEGAS (AP) Their story had been too good, their season way too magical.

    Then the script was suddenly flipped. And the storybook ending the Vegas Golden Knights had desperately hoped for became a story of another kind for the Washington Capitals.

    Two goals in the third period gave the Caps their first Stanley Cup title, ending 43 years of futility and sending a surprisingly large contingent of red-clad Washington fans into a frenzy. They stood and cheered as the Caps passed the Stanley Cup around, enjoying a scene that up to now no Las Vegas tourist had ever imagined.

    A few minutes earlier, thousands of Knights fans were on their feet cheering for their team. The game was over, but ''Go Knights Go'' reverberated through the arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

    Both teams had something to celebrate. But only Washington would be drinking out of the Stanley Cup.

    ''When you get this close to the cup it's hard,'' Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said. ''It doesn't happen too often. It's very disappointing.''

    An inaugural season like no other ended on a bittersweet note for an expansion team like no other. The first major sports team in this gambling city bucked the odds until the end, but in the end this was Washington's championship to win.

    It was the Caps who won every playoff series coming from behind. It was the Caps who found a way to win in the third period when things seemed to be going the Knights way.

    ''We got angry and mean,'' Washington coach Barry Trotz said. ''Even when they got an extra timeout when the clock broke our guys were like, we got this. There's not a chance they will score.''

    It was the Knights, though, who bonded with a city and thrilled fans who before October began knew little more about hockey than it was the fastest game on ice.

    They played into June, this collection of Golden Misfits, something no one could have imagined for a team that barely had any players a year ago. The temperature outside was close to 100 degrees for Game 5 but hockey worked in the desert and it worked in a city where you don't have to go far to place a bet on the team.

    And the bet is that this is a franchise that won't have to wait 43 years to raise a Stanley Cup of its own.

    ''We came up short but I'm sure in a few days we'll come up with a lot of positives about the season,'' defenseman Deryk Engelland said. ''Right now it's the worst feeling ever. You never want to lose any game, but especially at this point.''

    A season that began somberly in the wake of the massacre of 58 people just down the street from the T-Mobile Arena ended 102 games later with a community continuing to heal and a team that far exceeded expectations on and off the ice.

    It was Engelland who stood before the crowd at the first home game and told them, ''We are Vegas strong,'' a message that carried over on the ice. The Knights won their division, and were 12-3 in the playoffs coming into the Final, confounding the hockey experts at every turn.

    When they won the first game of the series it looked like the tale of an expansion team and its city would soar to new levels. But the Caps came back to win four straight, including the 4-3 win that capped off their own improbable run.

    ''No one gave us a chance from the start,'' said forward David Perron. ''I thought when I got picked in the draft that Vegas would be a fun place to be but the team wouldn't do much. It's been a great ride.''

    While the Capitals were enjoying a lengthy postgame celebration on the ice, the Knights filtered through a somber locker room, talking softly about great times and a painful ending. On the verge of doing something historic, they lost their way and the price to pay for it was another team passing the Cup around on their ice.

    ''It was a phenomenal year and in a couple days we'll think about that,'' Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. ''Every day was fun for us.''

    A magical season, yes. But it also won't be long before the reality sinks in that teams just don't get to the Stanley Cup Final every year.

    All the Knights had to do was look at the team celebrating on the ice to understand that.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Copyright© 1998-2014 J Wooden Corporation, Inc
US CITIZENS PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this site is for news and entertainment purposes only.
Any use of this information in violation of any federal, state, or local law(s) is prohibited.

Disclaimer   DMCA Notice