Washington Capitals fans take in conference final game 1 at watch party

ROSSLYN, VA. -- Hundreds of Washington Capitals fans gathered together at Gateway Park in Rosslyn, Va. to watch the first game of the Eastern Conference final between the Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The series marks the first appearance in the conference final for the Capitals since 1998.

For fans at the watch party, which was hosted by the Capitals, it was a marked difference from the past few years when the team had been booted from the playoffs in heartbreaking fashion.

"For the past seven or eight years I have felt the sting of loss every year," said Kelton Zacharias.

"We’ve gotten really close and it’s been devastating every year we’ve lost. Especially to the Penguins and Rangers. I’m glad they finally did it this year and hopefully they can make a run at the Cup," added Ben Speyer.