For a long time now, Los Angeles Kings forward Justin Williams has been known as Mr. Game 7. Why? Because he had never lost one, and had always stepped up and played his best during Game 7s in his career. On Sunday night he did it again.
The Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime Sunday night in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final. As always, Williams was right in the thick of the action. He scored a huge goal with 2:38 left in the first period to tie things up at 2-2. Then he added an assist on the game-winner in overtime. But that assist came as a result of a supreme individual effort. On the play in question, Williams carried the puck into Chicago’s zone and worked it around behind the net before dishing it off to defenseman Alec Martinez. Martinez then fired the puck past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (thanks to a deflection by Chicago’s Nick Leddy).
Williams’ attack and pass was the kind of play the underrated winger is known for. He just makes things happen.
With the victory on Sunday night, Williams is now 7-0 all-time in Game 7s. With his first-period goal he now has seven in Game 7s, tying Glenn Anderson for the most in NHL history. Thanks to his two points Sunday night, he now has 14 in Game 7s, which moves him past Doug Gilmour for the most all-time. That’s pretty remarkable stuff, but some guys just show up when the bright lights go on.
Williams isn’t the only player on the Kings who has shown up in big games, as Los Angeles has now become the first NHL team to ever win three Game 7s on the road in the playoffs. In those previous two games, Williams had an assist against San Jose, but also made a huge impact on the game, and against the Anaheim Ducks he had a goal and an assist. Despite those great numbers, all you need to know about Williams as a player is this: he leads the NHL with a ridiculous plus-11 rating in the playoffs. The guy is a gamer who always rises to the occasion.
So far this postseason, Williams has seven goals and 11 assists, while also being a big-time leader in the Kings’ locker room. He’s a two-time Stanley Cup winner (2006 with Carolina and 2012 with the Kings) and will get his chance at a third starting Wednesday as the Kings take on the New York Rangers for hockey’s biggest prize.
Here is a look at Williams’ highlights from Sunday night.
Here’s the goal he scored late in the first period (with Jeff Carter’s goal 55 second beforehand as well):
And here is his assist on Martinez’s goal in overtime: