LA Kings advance to Stanley Cup finals
CHICAGO – Alec Martinez scored at 5:47 of overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals Sunday night.
Martinez’s shot went off Blackhawks defenceman Nick Leddy and over goalie Corey Crawford, stunning the sellout crowd at the United Center and leading to a wild on-ice celebration for Los Angeles. Leddy was disconsolate as the Kings gathered in a big huddle along the boards.
Los Angeles improved to 7-0 in elimination games with its third Game 7 win on the road this post-season. It will host the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday night.
Justin Williams and Tyler Toffoli each had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who once held a 3-1 lead in the series, only to have the defending champion Blackhawks come back to force Game 7. Marian Gaborik had the tying score midway through the third period.
Patrick Sharp scored two goals for the Blackhawks, who blew a 2-0 lead. Brandon Saad had a goal and an assist, and Patrick Kane had two more assists.
Chicago’s loss means Detroit remains the last NHL team to win consecutive titles in 1997 and 1998.
© The Canadian Press, 2014