Maybe Justin Williams is so good in Game 7 because the Los Angeles Kings forward has been practicing for them since he was a kid.
"Of course it's Game 7 and it's usually the Stanley Cup Final too," Williams said Thursday of his childhood imaginations. "It's the same thing with any other sport. It's the last second of the game and buzzer is coming down, it's the ninth inning, two outs, football game, fourth quarter or last play. It's everything. It's you or them, and this is what you relish as a kid, coming out on top."
Williams will play the sixth Game 7 of his NHL career on Friday when the Kings and Anaheim Ducks
compete at Honda Center to decide their Western Conference Second Round series (6 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).
Williams is 5-0 with 10 points (five goals) in his previous Game 7s of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He has two game-winning goals.
Here are Williams' Game 7 highlights, according to L.A. Kings Insider:
April 22, 2003: At 21 years old, he had a goal and two assists and was named first star when the Philadelphia Flyers reached the second round with a 6-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
June 1, 2006: He had a goal and two assists when the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 to win the Eastern Conference Final.
June 19, 2006: He scored an empty-net goal in the Hurricanes' 3-1, Stanley Cup-winning Game 7 against the Edmonton Oilers.
May 28, 2013: He scored twice in the second period of the Kings' 2-1, second-round win against the San Jose Sharks.
April 30, 2014: He had an assist on Anze Kopitar's game-winning goal in a 5-1 victory against the Sharks that completed a comeback from a 3-0 series deficit in the first round.
"I've been behind in a Game 7 and I've been ahead in a Game 7," Williams, 32, told the website. "I've been behind going into the third period in a Game 7. I hope to get the first goal tomorrow, but if we don't, then no big deal. We'll write a different story."
Teammates Marian Gaborik and Mike Richards are also 5-0 in Game 7s. Jeff Carter is 3-0, and 10 other Kings are 2-0.
"I think it comes with the attitude of the players and just the chemistry and I guess the makeup of the team that makes you believe that you can win," Williams said. "There is nothing else around. It's an attitude within a person. You don't shrivel when push comes to shove. You want to get your peacock feathers out, and you want to prove that you can do it and you want to have the puck on your stick while you do it."