The story of the 2017-18 Washington Capitals will live on in that city and franchise’s respective histories forever – and a black man will forever have a starring role.
“D-S-P! D-S-P,” screamed thousands of fans in the streets of Washington after the Caps won the Stanley Cup with a 4-3 win over the Las Vegas Golden Nights last Thursday night.
Devante Smith-Pelly was the man they were saluting as he skated around the rink with the Stanley Cup hoisted above his head.
He had scored the game-sealing goal in a 3-1 nail-biter in Game Three to put the Caps in control of the series. A first-period three-goal flurry that sparked a 6-2 Game Four win was capped by a Smith-Pelly goal.
Then came Game Five. With the Capitals trailing 3-2 in the third period, and the Las Vegas crowd roaring, Smith-Pelly scored one of the biggest goals in franchise history.
After the Golden Knights attempted to clear the puck out of their zone, teammate Brooks Orpik stopped it at the blue line and tossed toward the net. After hitting a defenseman’s stick, the puck popped into the air and landed in front of Smith-Pelly.