Washington Capitals forward Chandler Stephenson kept his own blog throughout the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights. Stephenson checked in regularly with behind-the-scenes access.
The 24-year-old completed his first season with the Capitals, who selected him in the third round (No. 77) of the 2012 NHL Draft. In his rookie season, he had 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 67 regular-season games and seven points (two goals, five assists) in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Here is Stephenson's sixth and final entry, detailing his emotions after the Stanley Cup-clinching 4-3 win in Game 5 on Thursday.
LAS VEGAS -- Well, it finally clicked.
In this game, it hit me that this was real and I had a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Before that, it felt like we were playing in the fourth round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
To come back in this game and win the Cup, I can't put into words how it feels.
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I'm feeling every emotion right now. Having my family here and things like that, it's surreal.
We trailed 3-2 after two periods, so we wanted to leave it all on the line in the third. We were so close to winning.
We have a lot of guys who have been through this over so many seasons -- Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Jay Beagle, Brooks Orpik, Braden Holtby -- and they weren't going to be denied again. First, Devante Smith-Pelly scored to tie the game. Then, Lars Eller gave us the lead with 7:37 remaining.
After that, the rest of the game seemed to take forever.
Video: WSH@VGK, Gm5: Stephenson on winning for older brother
I think the clock was at 3:50 remaining when I looked at it and it felt like five minutes had gone by and there was 2:59 left. Time was just crawling by. It was crazy how long it took, but the guys battled through, and what a feeling when it was over.
After the final face-off with 0.6 seconds left, I threw my stick as far as I could and couldn't get off the bench quick enough to celebrate on the ice with the guys. It's such a great group of guys we had and it's been such a fun year.
I don't remember now who handed me the Stanley Cup when it was my turn to get it. Everything is such a blur.
I remember skating around with it, though. It was heavy. I didn't expect it to be that heavy, but it was pretty crazy to hold that thing.
This definitely exceeded any dream I had of winning it. I'll have summer to think about this and enjoy all the memories.
It's going to be a fun one with the parade back in Washington and all the celebrations after that.