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Kings' Williams looks to build on Game 7 track record

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO – Justin Williams began squirming uncomfortably in his seat behind the microphone before the question was even asked.

Everybody in the room Saturday afternoon knew it was coming, so when the Los Angeles Kings forward was asked about his profound success in Game 7 situations, he just shook his head. Seated next to Williams was Kings center Anze Kopitar, who whispered under his breath, "Bet you didn't see that one coming," before Williams began to answer.

Heading into the seventh Game 7 of his career Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center in the finale of the Western Conference Final (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), Williams has never lost in a seventh game. He's also tied for second all-time in NHL history in Game 7 goals (six) and points (12). Only Glenn Anderson's seven goals and Doug Gilmour's 13 points are better, yet Williams doesn't exactly enjoy the spotlight.

"I've reiterated quite a few times, I'm proud of my individual stats but the one I'm most proud of is the [6-0] in Game 7s," Williams said. "I'm going to do everything in my power to make it seven. We've had a lot of guys with success in Game 7s. It's not just me. It's very humbling, I guess, that everyone seems to want an interview on a Game 7. At the end of the day, I feel if I didn't get the point, someone else on our team would have and we would win those games regardless."

Williams' tune didn't change a day later after the Kings' morning skate. Asked if he felt any kind of pressure to score in series finales, he again deferred to his teammates.

"There might be pressure from outside sources, media-wise," Williams said. "Within the dressing room, I know if I don't score a goal tonight, someone's gonna, and we're going to be successful that way. We're not looking for one guy to be great. We're looking for everyone to be just a little bit better than good. One guy can't carry everybody. We have a lot of individuals on this team who have success and that carries on throughout the whole team. The adage that we need everybody to win is no more important than tonight."

Still, it's got to be comforting to the Kings to know they have a player like Williams on their side, who's been a proven factor nearly every time he gets into a Game 7 situation. Los Angeles actually has three players on its roster who are 6-0 lifetime in Game 7 contests, but Williams leads them all in production.

"He's just a big-game player and I think he's had success in these occasions before, and I think good players that have success in these occasions are quite comfortable in it," Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell said. "He's one of those players and we're lucky to have him."

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