Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference Finals Game Seven: Kings 5 – Blackhawks 4 OT
There are few things in sports more entertaining than an overtime win in Game Seven. Add the fact that the team that got the win did so by beating the defending Stanley Cup Champions on their home-ice and it makes for a story for the ages.
The Los Angeles Kings are no stranger to Game Sevens during this playoff run. In their first two series against San Jose and Anaheim, the Kings would go on the road in both instances to pull out wins to advance to the next round. However, while the Kings earned a decisive 5-1 victory over the Sharks in the Conference Quarterfinals and a 6-2 win over the Ducks in the Conference Semifinals, the 5-4 overtime effort was much closer than Kings fans are used to.
At the 5:47 mark of overtime, Alec Martinez would score his fourth goal of the postseason on a wrist shot that bounced off the Blackhawks’ Nick Leddy and trickled past Corey Crawford. The win for the Kings will send them back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in three years.
The Kings will now face the New York Rangers starting on Wednesday night. The Rangers are making their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals since they won it in 1994 against the Vancouver Canucks.
You can’t help but admire the roller coaster ride that the Kings have been on this postseason. They started the playoffs with three straight losses to the Sharks, before coming back and winning four straight games to advance. They then won two games before dropping three in a row against Anaheim, once again putting them on the brink of elimination. However, after winning two games, including a decisive one on the road, they then advanced to the Western Conference Finals. In the finals, the Kings would drop Game One, before winning three straight. However, after a 5-4 OT loss in Game Five and a 4-3 nail-biter in Game Six, this series demonstrated just what playoff hockey is all about.
Another hero in Game Seven on Sunday was the Kings’ Justin Williams. With his first period goal that tied things up at 2 and his assist on the overtime winner, Williams now has 14 points for his career in Game Sevens. That’s enough for the most in NHL history, a mark previously held by Doug Gilmour at 13.
The NHL has now seen seven Game Sevens during this years playoffs. That matches the most in history, a mark set in 1994 and 2011. With the way the Kings and Rangers have been playing, we could be in for another Game Seven to set a new record.
The Rangers are favorites to win the Stanley Cup at 6/5 and the Kings sit at 12/5. Game One will be in LA starting on Wednesday and you can check back with sportspicks.com handicappers for insight into the game and the entire series.
The Kings and Rangers split the two games that they played against one another this season, with both teams getting wins on the road.