The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks just completed what was quite possibly the best seven-game series in sports history. Yes, you read that right, not just NHL history, but sports history. Yes, that’s a lofty title to bestow, but I’ve never seen two teams locked in such an intense battle.
The Kings wound up taking the Western Conference Final with a 5-4 overtime win in Chicago Sunday night, as defenseman Alec Martinez’s shot from the point fluttered past Chicago’s Corey Crawford. But this series won’t be remembered simply because one team won. In each game there was incredible, intense back-and-forth action, and each game featured multiple major momentum swings, then counters to those swings. It was a heavyweight fight that lasted almost two weeks. It was also a clean series, with no cheap shots and pure respect for each other on both sides. And it was amazing.
This series was a classic clash in styles. The Blackhawks play beautiful hockey. They are easily the most skilled team in the world and their ability to score goals while also playing high-level defense is unparalleled. They also may have the best two-way player in the world in Jonathan Toews (though Kings center Anze Kopitar isn’t far behind) and one of the best playmakers in the world in Patrick Kane.
Meanwhile, the Kings are tough, gritty and always seem to find a way to win. They check like crazy and don’t give opponents room to breathe. They hit, hit again, and when you think they’re finally tiring, they only hit you harder. It’s rarely beautiful, but Los Angeles just has incredible will and desire and just as you start thinking the Kings are out of it, they shock you by jumping right back in.
The Blackhawks and Kings have won the last two Stanley Cups and faced off in last year’s Western Conference Final as well, with Chicago winning. This year the Kings jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the series and held third period leads in Game 5 and Game 6, but the Blackhawks just wouldn’t die. Patrick Kane led them to wins in both games, forcing Game 7 back home at the United Center.
But this year the Kings wouldn’t be denied. The same team that opened the playoffs down 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks before winning four-straight, and also trailed the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 before winning two in a row, scored another improbable victory Sunday night. The Kings are now the only team in NHL history to win three Game 7s on the road in the playoffs. They are also an incredible 7-0 in elimination games this postseason.
Each game of the series was incredibly competitive, so we’ve compiled these long video highlight reels in one post so you can watch through each of them. Enjoy, because I’m not sure we’ll ever see another series like this again.
Game 1: Blackhawks 3, Kings 1
Game 2: Kings 6, Blackhawks 2
Game 3: Kings 4, Blackhawks 3
Game 4: Kings 5, Blackhawks 2
Game 5: Blackhawks 5, Kings 4 (OT)
Game 6: Blackhawks 4, Kings 3
Game 7: Kings 5, Blackhawks 4 (OT)
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