The Los Angeles Kings, as they have done throughout the playoffs, didn’t do things the easy way but it matters not now as Alec Martinez scored the winner 14:43 into the second overtime period to give the Kings their second Stanley Cup Championship in 3 years.
In what was some of the most entertaining hockey of the playoff, both teams let it all hang out in overtime as the New York Rangers tried valiantly to send the series back to Manhattan for a 6th game.
Los Angeles earned the lead on a goal form Conn Smythe Trophy winner Justin Williams, as his short backhander through a maze of traffic got under Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers actually held a 2-1 lead for a while after a Chris Kreider power play goal tied it and Brian Boyle put them up on a nice shorthanded effort, both in the second period.
However, as the Kings have done so often in this post-season, they showed remarkable resiliency and fought back on a goal by Marian Gaborik just before the 8 minute mark of the third.
Then the game really opened up, with the Kings being pretty dominant in the third as they have been all series long.
The first overtime period was ripe with chances for both teams but Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick were stellar in extending the game to a 5th period.
Tyler Tofolli’s shot from the top of the circle was stopped but the rebound went to Martinez who was in all alone and made no mistake on the yawning cage as the bench and the Staples Center erupted with their second Championship banner, adding to the one they raised to the rafters in 2012.
Williams, who has become known as “Mr. Game 7″ showed that his heroics are not limited to the ultimate deciding game as he had 7 points over the 5 games of the Final Series, and was awarded the Conn Smyth Trophy as playoff MVP. The award could have gone to any number of Kings players, with Anze Kopitar, Gaborik, Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, Quick and even Lundqvist in a losing cause as viable candidates.
Lundqvist deserves a lot of credit for getting the Rangers as far as he did. After making 39 saves in game 4 to avoid the sweep, he made 48 stops in game 5 and was spectacular once again, but it simply wasn’t enough againt a Kings team that were too big, too physical, too talented and too deep for the Rangers to handle.