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The Kings faced a daunting task on June 1 when they took the ice at Chicago’s United Center for their pivotal Game 7 against the Blackhawks to decide which team would advance to play the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final.
For such a nerve-wracking affair, some seemed to be comfortable from the start.
It was a game that compacted the entire Kings’ postseason run, where they overcame numerous deficits, banked on clutch late-game scoring, and refused to break down when behind.
The Kings faced an early two-goal deficit, came back three times during the game, and put an end to the contest in magical fashion with an overtime goal.
After 60 minutes of play in Game 7, the entire series suddenly shifted to a restless ‘next goal wins’ scenario. They entered sudden-death time knotted in a 4-4 tie.
Whoever scored the next goal secured a position in the Stanley Cup Final for their respective team. This is when it can all come down to a bounce.
Just over five minutes into the overtime period, forwards Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams put pressure on Chicago’s defense with a fierce forecheck on what started out innocently as a quick dump-in sequence.
While Stoll applied pressure, knocking a Blackhawks defenseman off of the puck, Williams got hold of a loose puck behind Chicago’s net, swung around the corner, and hit Martinez with a crisp pass high atop the left point.
Upon receiving Williams’ pass, Martinez simply looked to put the puck on net.
After making a last-second tweak to his shooting angle, Martinez fired a quick snap shot that caromed off of Chicago defenseman Nick Leddy, and up and over Corey Crawford to give the Kings a 5-4 win.
MARTY PUNCHES THE TICKET
Martinez’ simple shot was the smartest of decisions a defenseman could make in that situation, besides throwing the puck back deep along the boards. Martinez delivered the puck low and to the net into heavy traffic.
And when you do that, good things happen.
Martinez has proved to be one of the best Kings’ defenseman to hit the net from atop the point, whether it be with a light wrist shot or a quick snap shot. He rarely winds up for a buckling slap shot, and is keen to look for a rebound or deflection when firing at the opposing goaltender.
You could say Martinez’ goal, and the Kings’ series win helped heal any open wounds that remained from the 2013 playoffs, when the Blackhawks eliminated the Kings in the same building in double overtime a year earlier.
The rest was history.
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Playoff Moments: #13 Route 73
Playoff Moments: #12 Zero's
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Playoff Moments: #09 Every Day Anze
Playoff Moments: #08 Eight’s Overboard
Playoff Moments: #07 Marian Finds A Way
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Playoff Moments: #05 OC Down
Playoff Moments: #04 Early Hurdle
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Playoff Moments: Honorable Mentions