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PHOTOS: The Washington Capitals’ Journey to Winning the Stanley Cup

Behind the scenes and out in the streets—a look back at the Caps' magical season.
PHOTOS: The Washington Capitals’ Journey to Winning the Stanley Cup
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

The Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup Final Thursday, defeating the Vegas Golden Knights at home, 4-3. It’s been 26 years since one of DC’s four major sports teams won a national championship, and at times it felt like everyone in the city could be found near the Capital One Arena, wearing red and cheering on the team whether they were playing at home or not.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the Caps’ road to the Cup.

Alexander Ovechkin stands for a portrait before hitting the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on May 26, part of the Stanley Cup Final sendoff for fans. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
T.J. Oshie laughs inside the locker room before a practice skate at the sendoff at Kettler. The team could feel the walls shake as thousands of fans cheered as the players took the ice. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
Goaltender Braden Holtby takes the net at the sendoff practice. His shut-out in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning was his first of the season—which he repeated in Game 7. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
Kettler Capitals Iceplex was a sea of red as throngs of fans took in the morning practice, many seeing the players skate in real life for the first time. Photo by Evy Mages.
Andre Burakovsky goofs around with Evgeny Kuznetsov during the sendoff press conference. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
The Capitals Red Rockers pumped up the fans waiting in line for the players to emerge from Kettler before heading to Las Vegas. Photo by Evy Mages.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis greets fans in the sendoff line. He surprised 200 full-time Monumental employees with a free trip to Las Vegas for either Game 1 or 2 against the Golden Knights. Photo by Evy Mages.
Nicklas Bäckström watches as his son, Vince, high-fives team mascot Slapshot. Photo by Evy Mages.
Braden Holtby loads his equipment onto the Vegas-bound plane. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
Alex Ovechkin boards the team plane for Game 1 against the Golden Knights, the first Stanley Cup Final game of his career for the team captain. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
Prior to Game 1 on May 28, a group of players including Devante Smith-Pelly (center) and Nicholas Bäckström (far right) join the pregame tradition of loosening up by kicking around a soccer ball outside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
Alex Ovechkin strides into the locker room ahead of Game 1. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
Evgeny Kuznetsov shows some serious game face heading into the locker room before Game 1. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
Thousands of fans take over the steps of the National Portrait Gallery across from Capital One Arena for a viewing of Game 1 on an outdoor screen. The Caps lose, 6-4. Photo by Evy Mages.
A fan shows her support with an elaborate painting of the Capitals logo, an eagle, on her face. Photo by Evy Mages.
Sting and Shaggy team up to perform on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery ahead of Game 3 on June 2, the Capitals’ first Stanley Cup Final game on home ice in 20 years. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin.
Pat Sajak makes a surprise appearance to announce the opening lineup ahead of Game 3. He and his wife have been Capitals season ticket holders for 13 years. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
Game 3’s starting lineup: Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Bäckström, and Jakub Vrana. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
The team celebrates after scoring a goal in Game 3. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
Fans cheer as the Capitals take a 2-1 lead in Game 3 at Capital One Arena. Photo by Evy Mages.
Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury dives to block a puck ripped his way by T.J. Oshie. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
Evgeny Kuznetsov (center) celebrates his second period goal with Dmitry Orlov (left), Jay Beagle (right) as Devante Smith-Pelley skates over to join during Game 3. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
Braden Holtby watches as the puck goes wide during the second period of Game 3. He ended the night with 21 saves for the Caps to win it, 3-1, giving them the series lead after winning Game 2 in Vegas on May 30. Patrick McDermott/Washington Capitals Photography.
Fall Out Boy puts on a free show on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery to rev up the crowd before Game 4 on June 4. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster.
Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer (left) and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (right) sport hockey gear and lead the crowd in a cheer prior to Game 4 at Capital One Arena. Action Plus Sports Images/Alamy Stock Photo.
The Capitals win Game 4 6-2, sending them back to Las Vegas for Game 5. Photo by Kim Olsen.

Kim Olsen
Associate Editor

Kim Olsen joined Washingtonian in 2016 after moving to DC from Pittsburgh, where she earned an MFA in nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Alexandria.