- - Friday, June 8, 2018

It was a few minutes after midnight Friday morning as Andrew Davis stood at an outdoor table at the Penn Quarter Sports Tavern on Indiana Avenue in northwest Washington, which was filled inside and out.

He was a few blocks south of Capital One Arena, where he had been on hand for the watch party that nearly filled the arena to watch the Capitals beat host Las Vegas 4-3 to win the first title in franchise history.

Davis said he has been going to about 10 games a year for the past few seasons but was not able to attend as much this year since he became a father.

But the southern Maryland resident wanted to be sure he was on hand for Thursday night.

So what was his reaction when the Capitals won for the first title in major D.C. sports in 26 years?

“I cried,” said Davis, wearing a T.J. Oshie jersey. He said he didn’t figure to get back home until 4 a.m. or so.

A few minutes earlier, inside the arena, souvenirs went on sale to mark the title.

Among the first in line was Brandon Murray, 38, of Largo, Maryland. He bought a Capitals baseball hat for $35 that said Stanley Cup champions.

“I had to come here. It was part of history. It was the absolute best,” he said.

A D.C. police officer, standing outside said all 3,400 people on the force were expected to work Thursday.

And the bulk of those were based near Chinatown and around Capital One Arena, with the rest of the city getting minimal coverage, he said.

While Alex Ovechkin and his teammates celebrated on the ice in Las Vegas, strangers embraced on the streets of the District.

“After 12 years of watching misery and heartbreak, this couldn’t feel better,” Grant Howe said. “There’s no other city that would enjoy this more.”

“So many heartbreaks,” Junaid Hussain said. “Finally won this [expletive].”

“Means a lot for D.C. and Landover,” Louis Snowden said. “This is for us.”

And for Darren Ewing, a ticket holder since the Capitals’ inaugural season, he encountered “sheer disbelief” as time ticked down inside Capital One Arena. “Been a fan since Day 1,” he said. “Cried like a baby.”

When Friday morning broke, many longtime fans stills seemed amazed at what the Capitals had accomplished.

Not everyone was surprised, though.

“I told everyone: this team has it,” said Alan May, a former Capitals player who is now a broadcaster covering the team.

He was speaking Friday morning from Las Vegas as he made an appearance on 106.7 The Fan.

May felt this spring the Capitals had what it took to win the title. “Everything about it has been so special. They all went next level,” he said. “It was so special to be part of this and watch this. It kept getting better and better and better.”

Not bad for a “minor league” sports town, as ESPN pundit Michael Wilbon said a few weeks ago about the nation’s capital.

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