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Meet the Kings' Justin Williams — Mr. Game 7

Los Angeles KingsSportsIce HockeyJustin WilliamsStanley Cup PlayoffsDustin BrownChicago Blackhawks
Justin Williams has a goal and assist in another Game 7 victory for the Kings
Kings winger Justin Williams is now 7-0 in Game 7s, and he usually contributes to victory

Incredible drama, dire moments, euphoria.

All of it clings to a Game 7, and for Kings forward Justin Williams so does another pattern.

A goal, an assist, a victory.

In the Kings' 5-4 Western Conference finals overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday night at the United Center, Williams took his reputation as "Mr. Game 7" to a level reserved for children's bedtime storybooks.

After setting up teammate Alec Martinez's game-winning goal 5 minutes, 47 seconds into overtime, Williams is now 7-0 in Game 7s, with seven goals and seven assists.

We're not making this up.

"The legend continues," Kings center Jarret Stoll said of Williams, smiling. "We were giving it to him pretty good already.

"He's just a special player, rises to the occasion every big game … I can't say enough about the kid."

Sunday, his team sunk to its deepest abyss by falling behind 2-0 in the first period of a riveting series in which last year's Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks won Games 5 and 6 and had more than 20,000 fans ruining their vocal cords.

"Games have their own storylines — every single game, every series does," Williams said. "Obviously, we're looking around after being down 2-0, saying this wasn't it for us, it wasn't going to end this way.

"Heck, we've battled back so many times this year, so many times so far in these playoffs. We said, 'Why not again today?'

Every single guy gave everything they got."

Williams watched teammate Jeff Carter score with 3:29 left in the first period, then tied it himself 51 seconds later off a pass from defenseman Slava Voynov.

When Chicago's Patrick Sharp answered with two goals, the Kings found themselves less than eight minutes from elimination.

"The series, it was up and down, it was emphatic, it was very emotional," Williams said, praising captain Dustin Brown for his tenaciousness around the net.

A Brown shot, with 7:17 left in the third, was followed by a goal from forward Marian Gaborik, who now has 12 playoff goals.

"You need everybody when you get to Game 7," Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said. "There's always guys that score big goals and make big plays, but you need everybody in your lineup."

Williams had an assist in the Kings' Game 7 win over San Jose in the first round, then had a goal and assist in the Game 7 second-round victory over the Ducks.

"Justin Williams is one of the best players on our team," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "A lot of people don't realize all the things he does, but when he has the puck, he makes things happen with it, and he did it once again tonight. He's unbelievable."

On the winner, Williams, from the rear side of Chicago's goal, sent the puck to Martinez in front of it, where the defenseman saw traffic and didn't even know it was in the net until he saw Stoll going nuts.

Past Game 7 heroics and Sunday's earlier goal "really wouldn't have meant anything if we didn't come out with a victory," Williams said as the 2012-champion Kings return to the Stanley Cup finals beginning Wednesday night against the New York Rangers at Staples Center.

Kings center Anze Kopitar said he's stumped to explain how Williams continues to find a way in Game 7s.

"I don't know," Kopitar said, "but I want to get in on the program, whatever he's doing."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Los Angeles KingsSportsIce HockeyJustin WilliamsStanley Cup PlayoffsDustin BrownChicago Blackhawks
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