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PITTSBURGH -- Denis Wideman scored in overtime as the Washington Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on Thursday night to win the 2011 Stanley Cup. The win over their arch-rival marks an undefeated 3-0 season for the Caps and sent the entire Washington region into a frenzy. A group of twelve people at Hard Times Cafe in Fairfax, VA attempted to celebrate the victory by turning over a car, but almost immediately gave up and decided to go home and write "Crysby Sucks" on internet message boards instead.
"This is everything we ever dreamed of and more," said team owner Ted Leonsis. "All the hard work we did this past week finally paid off. It was a very long season for us, but very rewarding. There were those horrible calls that we overcame, but I'm not complaining, but they were bad calls. The Penguins are our biggest rivals and I'm glad that we can finally bring this Cup back to our great fans in Washington."
The Caps fell behind early on a goal by Pens' forward James Neal and when asked after the game, no players on either team could remember a time when the Caps possessed the puck in the first period other than that time defenseman Karl Alzner panicked and shot it out of play for a delay-of-game penalty. But the tide turned in the second period as Penguin-killer Mike Knuble bullied a puck past backup net-minder Brent Johnson.
"We really turned things around in the f*cking second period," said Caps' coach Bruce Boudreau. "In the first period, I thought our f*cking asses were up in our faces but f*ck it if we didn't f*cking come out in the second and f*cking get our juices flowing in our blood."
The Pens withstood the Caps' pressure throughout the second, but the Caps' continued the onslaught early in the third period as captain Alexander Ovechkin scored on a nifty deflection. It was the captain's first goal of the season, and first time all night he did something other than come down the left wing and have the puck immediately taken off him by Pens' defenseman Zbynek Michalek.
"Follow my boy...Sasha!!!" Ovechkin shouted incoherently at a confused press corps after the game. He went on to exclaim, "we not n Canada!" and "hAhaHahaaa." When asked for clarification on Ovechkin's comments, Caps' spokesman Jim O'Donnell handed each member of the the press a blank sheet of paper, apologized, and immediately went home to his wife.
The Caps were holding a 2-1 lead when Jay Beagle tangled with Kris Letang and appeared to be whistled for a roughing penalty. Pens' enforcer Arron Asham took exception and challenged Beagle to a fight. After landing the first few blows while Asham played possum, Beagle's facemask was drilled 6-inches deep into his sinus cavity by Asham's right fist. As Beagle lay on the ice spitting out his teeth, Asham reminded the crowd about Jerry Meals' safe-call and of the importance of a good night's sleep.
The fight turned the tide in favor of the Penguins who were able to tie the game on a wrister by James Neal, his second goal of the night. Brent Johnson may have made a save or two in the third period, but just like the first period, no one can really remember.
As overtime started, the Caps' television broadcasters reminded viewers that Mike Green prefers 4-on-4 overtime hockey, presumably because it means less people for him to have to play defense against. The Caps were awarded a power play after Jordan Staal was whistled for needlessly tripping Ovechkin as he was about to turn the puck over anyway. On the ensuing power play, center Nicklas Backstrom found a streaking Wideman who buried the puck behind Johnson.
Caps' goalie and Conn Smythe winner Tomas Vokoun made 39 saves in the victory.
The road to the Championship didn't come easy for the Caps; it was the culmination of three games of intense work. Before tonight's game, they had a hard-fought win over Carolina in their home opener Saturday and also survived the pesky Tampa Bay Lightning in a brutal 1-game series on Monday. Prior years had seen the Caps fade as the playoffs wore on, so having their Stanley Cup awarded in the third game of their season appeared to be to their advantage. But coach Boudreau wasn't about to let anyone diminish the team's accomplishment.
"Look f*ckface," the coach said. "I don't give a sh*t if this was our first game of the f*cking year, a Stanley f*cking Cup is a Stanley f*cking Cup."
Check out the full recap on the GTOG Podcast here.