ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
If you listen carefully to this next tape, you just may hear a 44-year-old albatross dying.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
JOHN WALTON: And as the puck drops, the words that D.C. fans have been waiting to hear since 1974. The Washington Capitals are the 2018 Stanley Cup champions. It's not a dream. It's not a desert mirage. It's Lord Stanley, and he is coming to Washington.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
As you just heard from a very excited John Walton on the Capitals Radio Network, the Caps are champions - finally. Last night's victory in Las Vegas over the Golden Knights clinched the cup, the first in the team's 44-year history.
SHAPIRO: Fans went crazy here in Washington, D.C.
SHAPIRO: More than 16,000 people filled the Capitals' home arena to watch their team win on the big scoreboard screens inside and to sing what every fan has to sing after their team wins it all.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Singing) We are the champions, my friends.
KELLY: Now, D.C. is known for having lots of transplants. But last night the arena was packed with local diehards like Chris Becker, who says he has been a fan his entire life.
CHRIS BECKER: It's an accomplishment that - we've never been able to get over that hump. This is what we've achieved. And this is what we've been fighting for. And look at all these people with nobody here to watch, a team, except on a TV screen. Tell me they didn't want to be here to watch this with me.
SHAPIRO: Watching along with Becker outside the arena were tens of thousands more delirious fans jamming several city blocks. Newlyweds Fernando and Jaqueline Sanchez were there, exulting in the joy of the Capitals' first title and the relief after years of heartbreak.
FERNANDO SANCHEZ: It's just - you can relax. The weight is off your shoulders. It's - you don't have to worry. It's OK to believe, right? It's OK to believe.
KELLY: And believe it or not, Caps fans will get to see Lord Stanley's Cup in person during a parade next Tuesday. And we should thank member station WAMU for providing most of the tape you just heard.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS")
QUEEN: (Singing) We are the champions. We are the champions. No... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.