With the Capitals up 3-1 in the series, the NHL Stanley Cup finals shifted back to the hot desert of Las Vegas. The Golden Knights, who had not lost four games in a row in their entire first-ever season, certainly didn’t intend to make Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup finals the first time. They planned to regain their home ice magic and claw their way back in the series with two of the last three matches being played in Vegas.

Meanwhile, back in Washington DC, the Stanley Cup buzz continued to grow around the city. When the limited amount of Capital One Arena Game 5 viewing tickets became available, more than 70,000 fans attempted to secure them, and they were gone, literally within minutes.

On the ice, the atmosphere was palpable, with so much at stake for both teams.

The first period of missed chances in Stanley Cup Game 5

The Golden Knights knew they had to start fast in Game 5 in their quest to get back in the series. The Capitals didn’t want to let off the gas after ripping off 3 straight wins. The first period saw two heavyweights feeling each other out with chances from both teams.

Alex Ovechkin broke free and ripped a shot that was heading toward the net, blazing past Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, only to ricochet off the upper right corner of the post. After a furious pitched battle with both teams trying to gain the early advantage, the period ended scoreless.

The Golden Knights gain the advantage in the second period

The ice heated up in period 2 with Jakub Vrana opening the scoring for the Capitals and team captain Alex Ovechkin adding a second goal for Washington. The puck seemed to be bouncing the Golden Knight’s way, however, with both Nate Schmidt and David Perron scoring deflection goals.

Las Vegas’s Reilly Smith put his team up late in the second period 3-2. The Golden Knights then needed to hold the third period to bring them a game closer to the Stanley Cup.

Capitals roar back in the third period

Unfortunately for the Golden Knights, the third period was all Capitals and their unsung heroes of the team.

Devante Smith-Pelly provided a goal to tie the game at 3 and Lars Eller scored to put the Capitals up for good 4-3. With just minutes remaining, the game clock stopped working at T-Mobile Arena. The Capitals protested, but it didn’t matter as Washington goaltender Braden Holtby did what he needed to do, shutting down Las Vegas to close out the game. Alex Ovechkin deservedly received the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.

Back in Washington DC, the streets erupted in celebration with tens of thousands of fans cheering on their first ever Stanley Cup win and the first championship for any DC sports team since the Washington Redskins last Super Bowl victory in 1992.

The Washington Capitals were predicted to lose at every level of the NHL playoffs, but they beat the odds in Las Vegas.