Every night during the playoffs, we will wrap up all the exciting action and tell you what you need to know about the 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs. Welcome to What You Need To Know.
Kings win 5-4 | LA wins series 4-3
Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks were oh so close to making a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final but one of the recurring problems from the entire postseason caught up to them again; they couldn't hold their leads. The Blackhawks never trailed in this game ... until it was finished. Chicago looked a bit nervy at times, particularly late in the game and in OT, which you wouldn't necessarily expect from this team but there were a few too many failed clearing attempts and sloppy passes. They got a few bounces early but didn't get those bounces late. It would be easy to say the Blackhawks were giving leads away but a lot of credit goes to the team on the other side, too. But that won't stop the flurry of blame being thrown Corey Crawford's way as he wasn't great in this series at all, Game 7 included. Certainly it stings losing a game they led time after time, and they aren't used to losing games late in series, but the Blackhawks took part in a whale of a series and unfortunately one team had to lose.
Los Angeles Kings: When the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012, it was remarkable the way they just carved up the competition on the way to the first title in franchise history. This run to the Stanley Cup Final is a totally different kind of remarkable as the Kings had to play seven games in every series, and not only that, they had to win a Game 7 on the road every series -- and they did exactly that, becoming the first team in NHL history to win three straight Game 7s, and all of them on the road. The Kings didn't look particularly sharp in this game at all times in the neutral zone as Chicago had a lot of open counterattacking looks, but they backchecked well, played their usual brand of physical hockey and once again never quit. Not that you expect any team to quit with the conference championship on the line but it's impossible not to be impressed by this team's resilience, in this game exemplified by coming back from a deficit on three occasions, including an early 2-0 hole. Jonathan Quick deserves some kudos as he was having another bad game early but really clamped down and stopped Chicago's final 18 shots.
Play of the Game: Alec Martinez's game-winning goal can be seen here so we'll go with the goal that got the game to overtime, Marian Gaborik's equalizer midway through the third period. Like just about every other goal in Game 7 it wasn't all that pretty, going in off Corey Crawford, but it was beautiful in the Kings' eyes.
Player of the Game: Who else should get the nod other than Mr. Game 7, Justin Williams? He scored a goal early to tie the all-time record for career Game 7 goals with seven (there's a theme here) and then Williams set the all-time points record in Game 7s when he assisted on Martinez's winner. Honorable mention goes to Dustin Brown. The much maligned captain had a big game with eight shots and two assists. He was much more noticeable than we've seen from him since, well, 2012.
Turning Point: Up-and-down the game went, not only on the ice in a literal sense but in the emotional sense as well. By the time it got to overtime, it was really flipping with just about every rush up the ice, but so as to not go the soft way, we'll say that Jeff Carter's goal in the first period was as good of a turning point as any. It got the Kings on the board when at the time it looked like the Blackhawks could run away with it.
GIF of the Game: So this one is technically a vine and not a GIF but that just means it has sound, too, and in this case that's kind of essential because it sure looks like Patrick Sharp was singing along to Chelsea Dagger following his second goal of the night gave the Hawks a 4-3 lead (via @PeteBlackburn):