CHICAGO -- From behind the Los Angeles Kings' curtained shower area, amid various hoots, hollers and laughs, a phrase rang out over and over, attached to various delirious voices.
"The legend continues," they yelled.
Yes, Justin Williams is still Mr. Game7. He scored a big first-period goal, then made the pass that led to Alec Martinez's goal 5:47 into overtime, the one that gave the Kings a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night at United Center and sent them to the Stanley Cup Final.
Williams is now, statistically, a Game7 legend. He has 14 career points in the series-deciding games, the most by an NHL player. With his two points Sunday, Williams passed Doug Gilmour (13).
Legend? There will be one told about this Kings team, which became the first in NHL history to advance to the Stanley Cup Final by winning each of its first three series in seven games. Now, they'll try to win the Cup for the second time in three years, when they face the New York Rangers starting Wednesday.
"The story is how we were able to come back and how resilient we were, how awesome this series was to play and be a part of," Williams said.
Nobody, in either locker room, could argue that point, and the brilliant, dramatic Western Conference final got the ending it deserved. The Kings, who once led the series 3-1, were forced to play for their lives in a raucous arena, against one of the best home-ice teams in the NHL, and that was just the preamble.
The Kings trailed 2-0 after less than nine minutes. Then 3-2 at the end of the first period. Then 4-3 at the end of the second period. To think the Kings would give up, though, would have been complete folly. The Kings are 7-0 in this postseason when facing elimination.
Goals by Jeff Carter and Williams tied the game late in the first period. Tyler Toffoli tied it 3-3 midway through the second period. Gaborik tied it 4-4 midway through the third period with a net-front rebound goal.
"We never once believed that we weren't going to win this game," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "Even when we were down three times, we just knew we were going to come back and we knew that we were going to win this game."
This is a team that rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat San Jose, rallied from down 3-2 to beat the Ducks, and won both Game 7s on the road. At the start of Sunday's third period, what difference did one goal make?
"We believe we were a better team than they were this year," Doughty said. "Last year, I felt like their team was a little bit better, but this year we felt like we were the better team."
Gaborik tied the game with 7:17 remaining in the third period, and goalie Jonathan Quick made a nervy save in the closing seconds to send the game to overtime. A year earlier, in Game5 of the conference finals, Chicago ended the Kings' season with an overtime goal.
"In the room, we were like, 'This time, it's our time,'" center Jarret Stoll said.
The teams traded chances at a furious pace for the first five minutes of overtime until a remarkable trifecta of players ended the game.
It started with Matt Greene, in the lineup only because of an injury to Robyn Regehr, who won the puck behind Chicago's net. He pushed it to Williams, the Game7 hero, who carried it along the left boards and fed it to Martinez at the left point.
That's Martinez, who was a healthy scratch early in the season because he hadn't earned Coach Darryl Sutter's trust. Martinez fired through traffic, and the puck deflected off the right upper arm of Chicago defenseman Nick Leddy and wobbled into the net.
"I didn't know it went in until I saw (Stoll) going bananas there," Martinez said. "He was getting pretty excited. That's when I just started celebrating, too. I didn't really see it go in. I know it went off a couple bodies. I just tried to get it through and fortunately it went in."
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