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Eller makes history for Capitals in Cup-clincher against Golden Knights

First Denmark-born champion scores winning goal, misplaces stick in celebration

by Dave Stubbs @Dave_Stubbs / NHL.com Columnist

LAS VEGAS -- Lars Eller had no idea where the stick was that he used to score the Stanley Cup-winning goal on Thursday.

Even if it turns up at some point, it won't be joining whatever hockey memorabilia Eller has in his Washington home, or in his hometown of Rodovre, Denmark.

 

[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Golden Knights highlights | Complete Golden Knights vs. Capitals series coverage]

 

In the blush of victory at T-Mobile Arena, the Washington Capitals having defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, Eller promised the stick, "if I can find it," to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Video: WSH@VGK, Gm5: Eller puts Capitals ahead in the 3rd

"It was an unbelievable feeling," Eller said of the goal, a rebound at 12:23 of the third period while standing behind Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. 

"It was almost too good to be true. I was trying to get to the rebound. Fleury was so far out I couldn't get in front of him, so I got behind him, and that's where the puck comes.

"It's like you get to write the best story in the world yourself, score the game-winner in the Stanley Cup Final. I don't know how it can get better than that. We played right to the last second. It was a battle all the way through, just like it's supposed to be."

It was pressing 5 a.m. Friday in Denmark when Eller scored the goal that would make history, the 29-year-old becoming the first Stanley Cup champion from his country.

He knew the game was being shown in a rented movie theater in Rodovre, but he had no idea how many were in the seats when he scored his seventh goal of the postseason, lifting the Capitals to their first championship. 

Video: WSH@VGK, Gm5: Eller on scoring the Cup-winning goal

"I suspect it's a pretty good party right now," Eller said, adding that his family and closest friends will see the trophy up close this summer when he gets his day with it in Denmark. "Just to win the Stanley Cup will be the highlight of my career. Being the first [from Denmark] just makes this whole story even better. I didn't know it was going to be the clincher."

Then, with a laugh: "It can only go downhill from here."

Eller's parents, his brother and his wife, Julie, would join him on the T-Mobile Arena ice, Julie jumping up into his arms for a long, wordless hug.

"We deserved it," Eller said of the Capitals victory. "We went through so much every series. There were ups and downs, momentum swings, we went through every single scenario emotionally, physically. It just feels that much better to be able to lift [the Cup] here at the end. It's amazing."

There were no mixed feelings about winning the Cup on the road. After all, a wild parade, as yet unscheduled, awaits when they return home on Friday, as does a long offseason of celebration.

"Look at the atmosphere tonight," Eller said, Capitals fans chanting and singing in the stands a half-hour after the final siren. "If you want to win it on the road, I don't think there's a better place to win it right now. It's incredible."

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