Yes, yes, we know. This is a Los Angeles Kings blog.
Justin Williams, man.
Our favorite ex-King/three-time Stanley Cup champion/team dad and Alec Martinez’s go-to for his fantasy hockey roster back in the day put his Mr. Game Seven hat back on and helped will his young, scrappy bunch of jerks to victory in double overtime.
In a game where Williams played 29:40 and took a team high five shots on goal (a mark shared with Sebastian Aho), the Hurricanes came back from a 2-0 deficit in the pivotal game seven. And with every single television broadcast — local, national, international — focusing on Williams’ game seven pedigree, the longer overtime went on ... and on ... and on, the more you found yourself saying: “It’s going to be him, isn’t it?”
In the end, it kind of was.
Williams shot — simply hurling a puck on net — was deflected in by a perfectly-placed Brock McGinn, sending the Hurricanes to the second round and ending the run of the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Williams now has 15 points in nine career appearances in a series’ Game Seven, an NHL record. His primary assist on McGinn’s goal puts him in the company of some other legends (and also David Krejci), too:
Kings fans have pointed to Williams’ absence in the locker room over the past few seasons as one of the reasons why the team has had trouble coming together as, well, a team. And while the Kings may not have even been able to keep Williams past the 2014-15 season, and while it’s unfair to pin the cohesion of an entire locker room of alleged adults on one man, it’s impossible not to see the influence Williams has had in bringing together a group of players who have known nothing but draft lottery picks for years.
This is what leadership looks like. pic.twitter.com/D5TLkbxuOv— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) April 25, 2019
So, congratulations, Justin. We gave Kings fans reasons to root for every team in the playoffs but I’d be a liar if I said we weren’t pulling a little extra hard for you.