The franchise and the city had waited more than four decades, but it was finally time. The Capitals had won the Stanley Cup.
Alex Ovechkin, the team's unquestioned franchise player since his career started in 2005, and Nicklas Backstrom, his teammate of more than a decade sat down with NBC Sports Washington's Rob Carlin to talk about the moment they reached the peak of the sport.
"I’m gonna remember when we’re standing on the bench, 0.06 seconds remaining, faceoff in our zone," Backstrom said. "Ovi and I took our helmets off. We were ready to celebrate. Imagine if they would have scored then."
Ovechkin's reaction — hands in the air, screaming and skating to celebrate with his teammates — has been played over and over. At this point, it's probably ingrained in every Capitals fan's head. His memory of the moment is a bit bigger-picture.
"That moment I think we’re gonna remember forever," Ovechkin said. "When you win the first one, that’s the hardest one, I think. Of course, if we got a second one, that’s gonna be fun as well, but the first one is — for the whole organization, for the whole town ... a pretty special moment."
And then it was time to raise Lord Stanley's Cup. Ovechkin said he didn't want to think about it too early, but it was almost impossible not to imagine what it would be like.
"It was a situation when you get closer to that, you try not to think about it but as soon as it was Game 5, I was like 'OK, I don’t want to think about it. Let’s win,'" Ovechkin said. "And then it happened. But before then, of course, you imagine how you’re gonna raise it, what you’re gonna do with it."
After it was his turn to lift The Cup, Ovechkin handed it to his right-hand man.
"I don’t even remember that moment. I remember I came to you and I said ‘I’m going to give it to you,’" Ovechkin said to Backstrom.
Looking back, it's a bit easier to appreciate what the moment meant, not just to them as players or as a team, but what the moment meant to the fans and for the city.
"To see the whole city just come together when we beat Pittsburgh there in the second round, I thought everyone just came out. It was so cool to see all the people in the streets," Backstrom said. "No other city deserves it more than Washington, I think so. We’re happy to be a part of it and we’re really excited that it happened."
Ovechkin's feelings were much the same. A fan-favorite, the team's supporters often rode high and low with his successes and failures.
"I think it’s gonna stick for a long time," Ovechkin said. "It’s a special moment for all of us to go through all of the bad things and good things. Finally, when you reach it, I think it’s the biggest moment in my life, for sure."
The Capitals will start climbing back toward that peak Wednesday night, Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. ET against the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues.
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