LAS VEGAS — A ticket for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at Capital One Arena was one of the most coveted in D.C. sports history, despite the fact that the Washington Capitals won’t even be on the ice there for Thursday night’s game.

The team is holding a viewing party to watch Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights on the big screen, with the Capitals in Nevada and one win away from capturing their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. The free tickets were available beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday afternoon.

According to a team spokesperson, more than 70,000 fans logged on at that time to claim the tickets, which became a necessity when the arena was overwhelmed by fans for viewing parties for Games 1 and 2 from Las Vegas. Capital One Arena has a capacity of 18,506.

“Fans claimed all of the free tickets online almost immediately,” the Capitals said. “We thank everyone who jumped online to get tickets, and we hope that everyone who wasn’t able to get a ticket to the indoor viewing party still comes down to the Arena on Thursday night to watch the game together outside on the jumbotron at 8th and G streets.”

The Capitals also have stepped up to pay for extended Metro hours for the night of Game 5. Trains will run a full hour beyond Metro’s regular weeknight closing time thanks to Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which will cover the $100,000 in additional expenses. The agreement is the first time the Metrorail system has ever extended hours for an away game.

Capitals fever has swept through the D.C. area, even among non-hockey fans who have been waiting since the Redskins‘ Super Bowl victory in 1992 to see another Washington team win a championship. Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final delivered a 22.9 local rating, the highest-rated Capitals game ever on the networks of NBC in the market.

“It’s obviously fun for us to see the city like this and bring that kind of energy and enjoyment. The fans have been phenomenal,” said Caps goalie Braden Holtby.

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