The L.A. Kings made history, becoming the first team to win three game 7s on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals
The Stanley Cup Finals are set. The Los Angeles Kings will play their first game against the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
Say what you will about the L.A. Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks series, but one thing you can never say is that it was boring. Both teams gave fans plenty to cheer about. Both teams had moments of greatness and moments when they choked. Every game was a good game – even the two games that the Kings ran away with (games 2 and 4) were a lot closer than the scores would suggest.
In the end, game 7 gave everything you could hope for in a Stanley Cup playoffs game 7 (except for a Chicago win, if you happen to be a Blackhawks fan). The first period was a battle, with two quick Blackhawks goals (Saad, Toews) answered by two L.A. goals (Carter, Williams). Patrick Sharp would add goals in the first and second period for the Hawks and Tyler Toffoli would light the lamp in the second period for the Kings. The Blackhawks and Kings went into the third period with Chicago leading 4-3.
The score stayed that way for nearly 13 minutes until the L.A. Kings Marian Gaborik took advantage of a lucky bounce and put the puck in the back of the net behind Corey Crawford with 7:17 to go in regulation. That was the third time the Kings had fallen behind and tied the score. With the game tied with 7:17 left of the third period, the game intensified. Jonathan Quick faced a flurry of offense from the Blackhawks, practically standing on his head to keep the L.A. Kings in the game.
As it got down to less than five minutes, the game got chippy, with the striped shirts doing what you’d expect in a game 7 — refusing to call anything short of murder in the first degree.
Both teams came out of the gate in overtime looking like they were hungry for a shot at the Stanley Cup and ready to play. The first four minutes could just as easily have been a speed skating exhibition, with the play racing from one end of the rink to the other, but few real scoring chances as both teams played tough, aggressive defense and the refs continued to refuse to use their whistles for anything short of rape.
Then, Alec Martinez put the puck in the net at 5:47 of the OT to make the L.A. Kings the first team to win three game 7s on the road on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals.
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