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The defending Stanley Cup Champions, Chicago Blackhawks, won back to back games to force a Game 7 on their home ice against the Los Angeles Kings. Just last season, the Blackhawks took down the Kings in five games to win the Western Conference Finals. However, this series had a different outcome.
The Kings were 6-0 in elimination games heading into Game 7, including two on the road. Typical of the series, Sunday night’s game went into overtime only for the Kings to win 5-4 on a quick wrist shot from the point by Alec Martinez.
The puck hit Nick Leddy, Blackhawks defenseman, and bounced off him over Corey Crawford’s shoulder and into the back of the net. The Kings will now be heading to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in three years.
"I've lost some tough games but nothing like tonight," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said, according to The Associated Press.
The game started out with the Blackhawks taking an early 2-0 lead. Not long after, the Kings had tied it up at 2-2. Then it seemed that every goal the Blackhawks scored would be matched by the Kings until the stage was finally set for overtime.
“It was fitting the way it ended, in Game 7 and in overtime,” said Justin Williams, Kings’ winger who had a goal and an assist, reports the New York Times.
“A big reason we won in 2012 is because they got knocked out in the first round. They’re a tough matchup for everyone,” Drew Doughty, Kings defenseman, said.
Like the New York Rangers, who the Kings will be playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Kings did not touch the conference championship trophy. The Stanley Cup Finals starts on Wednesday.