June 8, 2018 / 3:57 AM / 9 months ago

Thousands of fans celebrate Washington's NHL victory in the streets

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fans poured onto the streets on Thursday night after the Washington Capitals won the National Hockey League’s coveted Stanley Cup with a 4-3 defeat of Las Vegas’s Golden Knights in Game 5.

Fans fill the steps of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington as they watch a telecast of the Stanley Cup finals in Washington, U.S., June 7, 2018. REUTERS/David Shepardson

Cars were honking in rhythmic succession as fans on the streets of D.C., cheered: “let’s go Caps.”

Fans climbed light poles and an arch near the Capital One Arena in D.C., after watching the Vegas-played game on big screen televisions in local bars packed to capacity.

Minutes before, thousands of fans crowded around the arena amid a heavy police presence, and cheered “we want the cup” and “let’s go Caps” as the final seconds ticked down.

Police had earlier brought in heavy trucks and closed off numerous blocks around the arena as fans watched the game broadcast from Las Vegas.

Then the crowd cheered even louder as television images showed the Stanley cup being brought out.

“Now I can die in peace,” read a sign held up by fans celebrating on the streets of the U.S. capital.

“I said I was born the day before the caps 1,000th game,” said Washington resident Chris Ostergard, 31, who held the sign. “I literally came here and was born for this.”

Matt Petruites, 22, who has just graduated from college, and his 69-year-old father Bob Petruites have waited for this day for years.

“It’s been a long time coming” Matt Petruites said, hoping that the victory might inspire other Washington teams.

Sisi Simon, 41, an administrator, said: “it’s so wonderful for us to bring this cup home to DC”. Asked if this marked a longer term change for the caps, she said: “definitely, this will change their performance, we’ll bring the cup home many more times”.

Reporting by David Shepardson and Michelle Price in Washington, D.C.; Writing by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Paul Tait and Michael Perry

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