“I feel very fortunate to be with the guys,” Quick said. “Obviously our journey’s not done yet and we’ve got a lot of work here coming up. New York’s an awesome team. They beat great teams, so they’re battle-tested, as well, so we’ve got a lot to get ready for.”
Gaborik, Williams and Mike Richards each improved to 7-0 in Game 7s. Sutter moved to 7-3 in such games, breaking a tie with Blackhawks adviser Scotty Bowman and Pat Burns for the NHL record for most coaching wins in Game 7s.
Sharp sent a big power-play drive past Quick to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 lead at 18:25 of the second. But Gaborik responded with his NHL-best 12th playoff goal at 7:17 of the third, setting the stage for a frantic finish to regulation.
Quick turned away prime opportunities for Sharp and Bryan Bickell before he made a terrific save on Andrew Shaw in the final seconds. Brown had a great rush to the net for Los Angeles that he nearly completed for a breathtaking score.
Jonathan Toews also scored for the Blackhawks, and Crawford finished with 27 saves.
“This was a tough way to go down. This one’s going to sting for a while,” Toews said.
The finale of the epic series between the last two Stanley Cup winners attracted a frenzied crowd of 22,315 that included basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley and Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall. And they were treated to another heart-stopping classic full of big shots and great saves by each side.
Just like in Game 5, a 5-4 double-overtime victory for Chicago, the Blackhawks got off to a fast start, only to have the Kings come storming back. Kane picked up an assist on each of the first two goals, finding Saad with a slick pass from behind the net, and then getting to the right place at the right time for a lucky power-play carom that went right to Toews for an easy tap-in at 8:36 of the first.
It was Williams’ seventh career goal in a Game 7, tying Glenn Anderson for the NHL record. Williams added an assist on Martinez’s winning score, breaking Doug Gilmour’s record for most points in such games with 14.
“That’s what they’ve done all playoffs. They’ve scored a lot of goals,” Chicago forward Ben Smith said. “They’re playing great hockey right now. There’s a reason why they’ve won the cup. They compete every night and find a way to get the job done.”