CHICAGO — Alec Martinez scored at 5:47 of overtime and the Kings beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks 5-4 in Game 7 of the Western Conference final Sunday night to advance to the Cup final.
Martinez's shot from the right point went off Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy and over goalie Corey Crawford, stunning the sellout crowd at the United Center and sparking a wild on-ice celebration for Los Angeles.
Leddy was disconsolate as the Kings gathered in a big huddle along the boards.
"It was a great play by (Justin) Williams to get the puck to me, and I just tried to change the angle," Martinez said.
Williams, who also had a goal in the game, set an NHL record with his assist on the winner. It was his 14th career Game 7 point.
"The legend continues," the Kings' Jarret Stoll said.
Los Angeles, which was down 3-0 to the Sharks in the first round before winning that series, improved to 7-for-7 in elimination games this postseason. The Kings won their third straight Game 7 on the road and became the first team to win three Game 7s en route to the Cup final.
"We never say die," Martinez said. "Someone described us as a bunch of cockroaches. We don't go away."
The Kings, back in the Cup final after winning it all in 2012, host the Rangers in Game 1 on Wednesday.
The last Game 7 of a conference final to go to overtime was in the 1994 East final, when the Rangers defeated the Devils in two overtimes on their way to winning the Cup.
The Blackhawks never trailed in the game until the end. Their problem was they couldn't hold a lead.
In a wild first period, Chicago went up 2-0 in the first 8:36 on goals by Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews, but Williams tied it at 2 at 17:22, the Kings' second in 51 seconds.
Patrick Sharp put the Blackhawks up 3-2 before the period ended. The five combined goals set an NHL record for most goals in the first period of a Game 7.
The teams traded goals in the second, and in the third, the Kings' Marion Gaborik tied it at 4 at 12:43.
"People forget pretty quick the team that came up short," Toews said. "We never want to be that team."
The Kings' Drew Doughty said they never felt like they were going to lose Game 7, even after falling down early.
First—1, Chicago, Saad 6 (Kane, Shaw), 5:06. 2, Chicago, Toews 9 (Kane, Seabrook), 8:36 (pp). 3, Los Angeles, Carter 9 (Brown, Toffoli), 16:31. 4, Los Angeles, Williams 7 (Voynov, King), 17:22. 5, Chicago, Sharp 4 (Kruger), 17:34. Penalties—Williams, LA (tripping), 7:53; Seabrook, Chi (cross-checking), 9:10.
Second—6, Los Angeles, Toffoli 7 (Greene, King), 10:31. 7, Chicago, Sharp 5 (Saad), 18:25 (pp). Penalties—Richards, LA (hooking), 7:01; Mitchell, LA (boarding), 12:11; Doughty, LA (cross-checking), 13:24; Saad, Chi (slashing), 14:40; Lewis, LA (holding), 17:15.
Third—8, Los Angeles, Gaborik 12 (Brown, Kopitar), 12:43. Penalties—None. First Overtime—9, Los Angeles, Martinez 4 (Williams, Greene), 5:47. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Los Angeles 11-4-14-3—32. Chicago 7-16-13-5—41. Power-play opportunities—Los Angeles 0 of 2; Chicago 2 of 5. Goalies—Los Angeles, Quick 12-9-0 (41 shots-37 saves). Chicago, Crawford 11-8-0 (32-27).