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Kings top Blackhawks in Game 7 OT, advance to Stanley Cup Final

Jun 1, 2014, 11:20 PM EDT

The 2014 Western Conference finals received the great game this spellbinding series deserved. Ultimately, the Los Angeles Kings edged the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 5-4 in overtime to advance to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers.

Alec Martinez‘s shot took an odd carom off of Nick Leddy to decide the series with the kind of bounce that often determines playoff overtime contests.

The Kings saw their 3-1 series lead dissolve into a 3-3 tie, yet it gave them another chance to display their resounding resilience. They’ve done something that no other team has done: win three road Game 7′s in the same postseason. If nothing else, they would host the Rangers in a Game 7 if the championship round goes that far.

Martinez provided an interesting take on his team’s resiliency:

A fitting end

Really, Game 7 seemed like a microcosm of the 2014 Western Conference finals as a whole. There was a frenzy of goals, the Blackhawks’ leads barely lasted (Los Angeles tied it three times tonight) and then the contest settled into a nail-biter.

The first period provided that frenzy. The Blackhawks charged out to a 2-0 lead, yet some great shots and shaky goaltending ensured that there wasn’t a dull moment. Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick likely didn’t feel very confident about their games going into the first intermission … although the familiarity of it all likely dulled that tension.

The two teams traded goals in the second period to set up a tense third period. With the Kings’ season on the line, Marian Gaborik found a way to push this series into the first conference final Game 7 overtime since the New York Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils back in 1994.

Quick made 37 out of 41 saves as he finished strong while Crawford had the toughest night even before that game-winner (which wasn’t really his fault), allowing five goals on 32 Kings shots.

This marks the Kings’ second Stanley Cup Final appearance in the last three seasons while Chicago’s title defense comes to an end. A lot can change in this parity-friendly salary cap era, yet the feeling is that these two teams may very well fight for the West crown for the foreseeable future.

If that’s the case, they’ll struggle to top this instant-classic series.

  1. canucks30 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    I don’t know how you top a series like that…

    Actually, I do:

    • canucks30 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      The Kings are like a zombie, every time you think they’re dead, they come right back to life:

      Overcome 3-0 series deficit and win Game 7 in San Jose.

      Blow 2-0 series lead, overcome 3-2 series deficit, win Game 7 in Anaheim.

      Blow 3-1 series lead but overcome 2-0, 3-2, and 4-3 deficits to win in Game 7 in Chicago.

      Remarkable.

    • dannymac17 - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:19 AM

      yes. to this video and the kings. Wow.

    • alicesrightfootesq - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      Viewing that video is tantamount to rape.

      - Jezebel.com writer

  2. pirovash88 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    And we’re on to the finals boys. Nothing but respect to the hawks and their fans. Hard fought series all the way. This was the series to watch in the post season.

  3. gret9 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    Congrats to all the Kings fans out there, except Blom of course. Your team has the heart of a lion and never give up no matter what happens. Thanks for a great series even though my team came out on the short end.

  4. kaptaanamerica - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    Wooh, ric flair style…. congrats to the Kings their fans… Blomfeld you were right about the Kings vs Hawks.

    great game. awesome. loved it almost as much as when the Canucks knocked off the Hawks to deny them a repeat in 2011.

    tough loss for Hawks fans. I feel for you, your team gave it everything they had. just came up a little short. Sharp and Kane were clutch. Crawford did what he could.

    i have a new found respect for how well the Hawks play. now there is no doubt, we can usher in the comments about Kopitar being the elite of the 2 way forwards, selke trophy should be his…

    Wooh, haha, loving this win… it could only be better if it were the Nux… but i’ve said it all year long that the Kings when healthy are the team to beat and they proved it tonite.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:33 PM

      Have to recognize Saad and Shaw as well. that line was money the last 3 games.

      Gaborik proved all the naysayers wrong, coming up big time and again these playoffs. Quick solid throughout.

      Sutter made the adjustments he needed to make and the Kings pulled it out of the fire just when all the talking heads were turning on Kings and felicitating the Hawks with dynasty talk, etc..

    • cybernetikghost - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:02 AM

      I have to disagree about rather beating the canucks than hawks. I would much rather beat a team that is better than us, as the hawks are, and have a well-played, respectful series. Hawks fans and players alike are a respectful bunch. Best series of the playoffs, hands down.

  5. r8rbhawk - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    Both teams showed their championship sized stones in this series. Game 7 lived up to expectations. Congratulations to the Kings and their fans. Go win the Cup for the Western Conference. I’m numb.

    • McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:54 PM

      I guess it’s time to get ready for training camp, which is only about 57 days away.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jun 2, 2014 at 2:33 AM

      Glad to see you came out despite the pain of defeat.

      Of all the hawks fans I’d have to give you props. Your team played well.much respect as I’ve mentioned in several comments today. I’m not going to rub it in as it were.

      Just know your team is in better shape than most and will bounce back to challenge again next year.

  6. sharksfan754 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    Don’t like the Kings one bit but damn they have some heart. I’ll be pulling by default for the rangers next series but I hope it goes 7 and all games are close. Don’t want hockey to end yet… Even in California we had 2 viewing parties for the hawks kings and rangers habs this week alone with strong number of people at my house. Safe to say love for hockey is growing in the Bay Area!

  7. jpat2424 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    Handshakes to the Kings and there Fans. Great series and hope nothing but the best for ya. Hopefully see ya again next year. Go Hawks. Good luck LA

  8. McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    For everyone who said Game 6 was the death knell for the Kings and I said, “Not so fast my friend”; scoreboard.

    Even though they scored on 2 on the PP, not scoring on the 5-3 hurt.

    You can’t be up 2-0 with less than three minutes left in a period and give up 2 to make it tied.

    They stopped getting pucks to the net in the 3rd.

    Why the change to Versteeg in Game 7? I know better than to question Coach Stache, but this one I don’t get.

    Good luck LA Kings in the Finals.

  9. letsgolightning - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    This game was so amazing to watch, I forgot I was missing Game of Thrones. So now I’m seeing spoilers everywhere and I’m not even mad because this game was awesome.

  10. rasal68 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    Gary Betthole got his wish. NY LA. Break out the b list celebs with their new LA gear. Beiber sighting due soon.

    • imleftcoast - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:41 PM

      Loser has to keep Bieber.

      • chanceoffleury - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:15 AM

        Giving him back should have been part of the Jimmy Fallon bet. Now that I think of it, weren’t we supposed to deport him back up north after his pesky little felony egging incident?

      • jamesmfitzpatrick - Jun 2, 2014 at 1:23 AM

        Isn’t Biebs from Toronto?

        Just give him to the Leafs

      • joey4id - Jun 2, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        chance, it’s always amusing when someone from the US promotes deporting a non US citizen for minor crimes. Unless you feel you have too many gun toting citizens, and mass murders that take up resources in the judicial system, then I don’t see why you’re obsessed with a punk. Surely the US has bigger problems. Corruption on wall street, unconstitutional mass surveillance programs, corruption at the VA, no gun control, massive national depth, racism, lack of accessibly to education for all, wars started based on lies…… shall I go on?

  11. afrancis55 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    Best playoff series I’ve seen in quite some time, maybe ever. It wouldn’t surprise me if these two teams meet in the WCF AGAIN next year. Congrats to the Kings and their fans and good luck in the SCF.

  12. luvusa1 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    Wow…unfortunate and lucky bounce for the Kings….this was the finals. NY lucky to win one game. Kings a team of destiny…please limit the post game interview with Sutter…it’s painful!

    • cybernetikghost - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:08 AM

      I would love it of these playoffs were as easy as leaving it up to destiny. You don’t go to 3 game 7′s because destiny is on your side. Kings are a team that refuse to surrender.

  13. cubbybeers41 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    Congrats to the Kings and their fans. This was an unbelievable series and this game 7 was better than game 6. The Finals won’t stack up to how good this series was. Good luck Kings, I cannot root for a New York team.

    As a fan of the hawks, I hope we don’t have to play the kings next year. As a fan of hockey, I want to see them play 101 times. Whoever gets to 51 wins, wins the cup.

  14. cheggy1731 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    As a Blackhawk fan, I want to congratulate the Kings, who were the better team, by just a bit. Keep the cup in the West. The torch has been passed to you. You have Black hawk magic with Daryl Sutter

  15. canucks30 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:33 PM

    John Stevens has to be Trevor Linden and Jim Benning’s pick as Head Coach of the Vancouver Canucks.

    He’s learned under Ken Hitchcock, Terry Murray, and Darryl Sutter.

    He’s done a terrific job developing Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov, Alec Martinez, and Jake Muzzin while running the Kings penalty kill the last 4 years.

    He’s been a part of a team that’s won a Stanley Cup as an 8th seed, lost in the Western Conference Finals, and made a second appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals in three years while winning 3 road Game 7′s and overcoming a 3-0 series deficit along the way.

    Throw in his trip to the Eastern Conference Finals with the Flyers in 2008 and 4 Calder Cup’s (3 as a player and 1 as a coach) in the AHL and you have a heck of a coach.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      I hope those two are watching the Kings and keeping an eye on John Stevens. MG made a big mistake last year taking Torts over Stevens…

  16. jkaflagg - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:33 PM

    Two great teams, could have gone either way – Kings just got one more bounce. Let’s do it again next season.

  17. bills4 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    I put a lot of faith in the Kings before the playoffs started by picking 1/4 of my draft with LA players. I’m so happy to see my hunch pay off and as long as they beat the Rangers, I’ll be lining my pocket, Yay!!

  18. idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    Those handshakes at the end of the game were the definitions of class and sportsmanship.

    Well played, Blackhawks and grats to the Kings.

    I have a feeling though, we just saw the two teams match up that was worthy of the Stanley Cup final.

    We’re witnessing the NHL’s version of this year’s NFL season.

  19. spyder9669 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    He never said “we are like cockroaches”

    He said “I heard someone say we are like cockroaches”

    It will be a cold day in hell when anybody in the media actually quotes someone 100% accurately.

  20. phillyphanatic77 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    One of the best series I’ve ever seen. Two great teams giving their all… it was a toss up on who deserved to win. I almost wish neither had to lose. Now, for the finals, I really don’t see LA losing to the Rangers. They’re just built for the playoffs. The Rangers are kind of on a miracle run. The Kings are on another level. I think they take it in five or six. But what do I know. Reminds me of the Kings-Devils final.

  21. Gigagigagilgamesh - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:42 PM

    2 Best teams in hockey….
    Best series ever?
    Great Hockey Blackhawks…

  22. terrier92 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:42 PM

    I’d like to thank the hockey gods for allowing me to watch that game. I have no dog in the fight yet enjoyed it immensely. Hawks and Kings both showed their championship mettle,

  23. luvusa1 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    Let’s not get carried away with Stevens…he was at best adequate as a head coach during his tenure the Flyers head coach, but looked like a deer in the headlights. Besides, his idea of player bonding was baking a cake…really?! He may be best suited as an assistant as referenced.

  24. hrudey - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    All that needs to be said about how good Chicago is simply that it took this kind of effort to knock them out. It’s wonderful to see a team so talented that plays so hard, so clean and with such respect for the game and the opposition. Their fans lived up to that high level as well. You can tell a true champion not only by how they win, but how they lose, and they went out fighting to the end. My hat’s off to the Hawks, and I imagine that we’ll see this matchup in the conference finals again.

    And wow, for all the misery involved with being a Kings fan before 2012, it’s still weird to see the team be this special in the playoffs. I’m sure Hawks fans who were around in the 90s and before have the same feeling about their team – long years of suffering have finally been supplanted by an amazing group of players who you can’t help but be proud of.

    • kicksave1980 - Jun 2, 2014 at 1:09 AM

      You nailed it. As one of the long-suffering Blackhawks fans through the late 90′s/early 2000′s, I can look at this Hawks team and be proud. It really stings right now, but being depressed after the game, all I had to do was think back on a time (in the not so distant past) when the past 5 years would’ve seemed like a pipe dream. I know that you Kings fans feel the same way.

      What a series. Watching this Kings team throughout the playoffs…they certainly have the look of a team of destiny. It hurts too much to say “Go Kings” right now, but I’ll be cheering for them in the final. Congrats!

  25. areaman714 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    Congrats to the 70 percent of Kings fans that aren’t jilted Raiders fans and that douche sue happy Wong guy . . .

    • 22lakings22 - Jun 2, 2014 at 3:45 AM

      Bitter Ducks fan, party of 1.

      • areaman714 - Jun 2, 2014 at 9:09 AM

        I take it you are going to sue me.

  26. c9castine - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    well well. as i said, you had the what people thought was the best team in the league and rightfully so, being defending champs and making it that far. and then the team that just looked unbeatable.

    i picked LA to win the cup AFTER the 1st round (not trying to be some joey4id nostradamus here) because when you see that kind of teflon quality to a team, it can mean something.

    end of the day LAs big players stepped up and Chicagos did not. thats often how the script is written. Gaborik with a big goal again, justin williams clutch again all series, jeff carter, Quick qith the timely ones, I thought Brown had an outstanding series. Kane and Saad are notable for Chicago especially Kanes last few games but his lack of production and play early helped dig the 3-1 hole.

    • c9castine - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:22 AM

      heres a telling stat for me.

      michael handzus. 2012-2013 11pts +8 in 23 games
      2013-2014 3 pts. -7 in 19 games

      after toews, the center depth just falls off a cliff. shaw would be a pretty fitting 3rd line center but you cant establish him as that when he is either playing 2nd line center or 3rd line center behind handzus.

    • joey4id - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:56 AM

      I picked LA to win the cup (not trying to be some c9castine nostradamus here) too. If they do win, then our own Joe Yeardon may want to change his name to Michel de Nostredame. Not only did he too pick the Kings, but he had the audacity to pick the Rangers to be the EC champs.

      http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2013/10/01/whos-going-to-win-the-stanley-cup-here-are-phts-picks-2/

      Joe Yerdon: Los Angeles Kings over New York Rangers
      The Kings are one of a handful of teams that can hang with Chicago in the West. Their skill, toughness, and goaltending are as good as it gets. The Rangers shake out as a team that seems to have it more put together. If not having Torts in their ears makes the difference, and I think it will, they’ll be right there.

      Go Kings!

  27. jpat2424 - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:22 AM

    Game 8 is tomorrow right ? Please. Please

  28. blomfeld - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:34 AM

    GOD’S WILL …

    _____________

    Blackhawks: 4

    The Forces of Joy: 5 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

    Always ‘believe’ friends, for it’s the way ! … comrade Blomfeld :)

    • c9castine - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:46 AM

      seriously? get lost with that crap.

  29. puckluckpost - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:34 AM

    Chicago should have lost game 5. They were lucky LA played poorly.

  30. kc114 - Jun 2, 2014 at 4:45 AM

    Great series! Blackhawk fans were very classy and friendly to the few of us Kings fans at United Center last night. Go Kings go!

  31. puckluckpost - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    Lesson learned: Don’t doubt Doughty!

  32. joey4id - Jun 2, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    Both teams just never quit. Either team could have won, and both deserved to win. Can the SCF top the WCF? I don’t know. Hard to say that it will. We may have just seen one of the best 7 game series of all time.

    I suppose if you had a horse in this race you were sitting on the edge of your seat throughout the game. Last night was by far not the best game of the series. Exciting because it was a game 7, but there were a lot of mistakes and goaltending not at it’s best. Too much puck luck because of so many bad bounces (or good depending who you’re cheering for).

    Broadway vs Hollywood! The stars will be out. It’s an NHL marketing dream come true.

  33. hammerhead5573 - Jun 2, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    No dishonor in losing to a better team. I can only hope this same type of series and playoff run next year. Even though my Hawks lost to the Kings I will be pulling for them. Have fun Kings and Rangers fans. You deserved this.

    • fpstratton - Jun 2, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      One classy comment from a member of a great fan base. As much of a Kings fan that I am, I felt a little bad for the Hawks because they are such a likeable bunch as well. Let’s hope we meet again next year!

  34. slysipops - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    CONGRATS KINGS FANS! your team outplayed us and your bench out coached us ( dead wood sitting on the bench in a game #7 …… disgusting ) ! but more importantly than my whining ….get those RANGERS! KEEP THE CUP IN THE WEST ! i’d say good luck…….but you don’t need any ! ……………

  35. chumthumper - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    Would it kill anyone to put the time of the winning goal in this (and future) posts? Some of us didn’t have the luxury of sitting up past 11pm to watch.

  36. endusersolutions2013 - Jun 2, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Thinking forward to next year, I believe the hawks need to jettison the whole 4th line at the end – Bollig/Handzeus/Versteeg. Billig and Versteeg had 4 points and minus 6/7 in the playoffs. Game 7 Versteeg logged a total of 5:28, and all the positive stats were zeroes. So the top lines had to absorb all their “non-time” in an overtime game. Wonder if that had an impact on the outcome, and/or what Morin and Regin might have contributed. Coach Q is an excellent coach, and that decision is a real head scratcher.

    Dumb trade, trading an Improving 6:6 Hayes ad their then top AHL D-man for Versteeg.

  37. fpstratton - Jun 2, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    I think this is the best conference finals series I have ever seen. Rangers-Devils in 1994 had more off-ice drama because of the long drought between Ranger Stanley Cups and Mark Messier’s guarantee of a game 6 win, but in terms of hockey quality, this one is hard to beat: Two great champions with hearts the size of Texas. The Kings just kept coming at the Hawks, and to, twice in one series, rally from 2 goals down IN CHICAGO and win the games, is one tremendous achievement, but kudos to both teams who play hockey the way it was meant to be played.

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