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 defenseman Nick Leddy and past goaltender Corey Crawford, stunning the sellout crowd at the United Center and leading to a wild on-ice celebration by the Kings.
Los Angeles improved to 7-0 in elimination games with its third Game 7 victory on the road this postseason. The Kings will host the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night.
“We never say die … someone described us as a bunch of cockroaches that don’t go away,” Martinez said.
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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. Jeff Carter scored his ninth playoff goal in the first, and Marian Gaborik scored the tying goal with 7:17 left in the third period.
Jonathan Quick made 37 saves for the Kings.
“It was a total team effort, every single guy here giving everything they’ve got,” Williams said.
Patrick Sharp scored two goals for the Blackhawks, who blew a 2-0 lead.
“I’ve lost some tough games, but nothing like tonight,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.