The concluding game of the Western Conference Finals brought an end to one of the most entertaining playoff series in recent memory. Two months later, it seems that the prevailing memory of that Game 7 is of two heavyweights exchanging punches and going back and forth until an overtime goal finally settled things. It's easy to forget how odd Game 7 was in comparison to the prior six, though; the sheer number of crazy bounces in this one made it both highly unpredictable and highly nerve-wracking.
But after Jonathan Toews, Justin Williams, Patrick Sharp, and Tyler Toffoli all got the benefit of strange deflections, there was one more twist. That's not to say that Alec Martinez's goal was purely due to a weird bounce, though; we can start earlier and see how the Los Angeles Kings were able to set up their overtime winner. It starts with Matt Greene picking up the puck at his own goal line and passing ahead to Justin Williams.
The replays didn't go back far enough to focus on the move Williams pulls off here. It's a good one, though...
... and it allows Williams to gain some room in the neutral zone.
Nick Leddy is now facing Williams, and rather than try to hip check Williams before he can get to the blue line, he backs off and tries to block him off once he gets into the offensive zone. Williams flips the puck in deep before he makes contact with Leddy.
It's not exactly a bad play by Leddy, but it creates two problems. The first: Jarret Stoll is able to stay onside without slowing down, and he's able to catch up with a flat-footed Marcus Kruger. The second: rather than going to the outside, Williams gets inside position, and a surprised Leddy drops his stick. When the puck gets to the boards, Stoll gets there as Kruger does, and the puck is loose.
Williams has gotten past Leddy, and he grabs the puck while Leddy goes back for his stick. The Chicago Blackhawks aren't in huge trouble, but Williams now has the freedom to move around the net and choose his play.
With all five Chicago players surrounding Corey Crawford, Williams chooses the safe play and feeds Alec Martinez, who you can juuuuust barely see in the above frame. The Chicago defenders haven't really seen him either.
Now, everyone turns their attention to Martinez. The defense has had enough time to get themselves into decent position, and Leddy is now sitting behind Tyler Toffoli in the slot. The responsibility of blocking the shot falls to Ben Smith, and given that he (aside from Kruger) was Chicago's top shot-blocking forward this season, Martinez has to think about the shot. He does take a moment, stickhandling once before flipping a wrist shot to the net.
Martinez's shot has enough elevation to get past Smith, and it flutters toward Crawford. The Kings' traffic isn't great, but both Toffoli and Stoll (right next to Crawford) attempt to get their sticks on the puck. It turned out that neither of them needed to, because Leddy's arm ended up providing the key deflection. It took a nice play from Williams and a good forecheck to set up the Martinez shot, but sometimes, it's just a bounce that makes the difference.
"KINGS WIN THE GAAAAAAME!"