The L.A. Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 on Sunday, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final in a dramatic Game 7 overtime win.
The Blackhawks, the defending Stanley Cup champions, scored the first two goals of the game and led through the first period. The Kings tied the score at 3-3 partway through the second period, but Chicago took the lead again a few minutes before the second intermission.
The Kings caught back up at 7:17 of the third period. Missed shots and frantic saves carried the game into overtime.
Up until overtime, the Kings had never been in the lead. Then L.A. defenseman Alec Martinez scored at 5:47 into overtime, sealing the Western Conference finals.
Here’s how The Associated Press described the moment:
“Martinez’s shot went off Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy and fluttered over goalie Corey Crawford, stunning the sellout crowd at the United Center and leading to a wild on-ice celebration for Los Angeles.
” ‘I didn’t really see it go in,’ Martinez said. ‘I know it went off a couple bodies.’ ”
It’s been 20 years since an NHL conference final ended in Game 7 overtime — the last game this close was in 1994, between the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils.
The Rangers won that nail-biter. And speaking of the Rangers, they’ll be traveling to Los Angeles for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final this Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.
That game will mark the first championship face-off between New York and L.A., in any major sport, since the 1981 World Series.