LOS ANGELES -- Justin Williams is a major reason the Los Angeles Kings bear the crown again.
"Justin Williams is an unbelievable hockey player," said Kings defenseman Alec Martinez, who scored the game-winning goal in Friday night's 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers, awarding the Kings another Stanley Cup title. "Such a great leader in the room. He can do a lot of special things with the puck. He always seems to have the puck on a string.
"Obviously, you guys have called him Mr. Game 7. I think I've called him that a couple of times, too, but I couldn't be happier for him. He's a clutch player, a big time player. He makes big plays in big games."
Williams was presented the Conn Smythe trophy after the Kings claimed their second Stanley Cup title in the last three years, prevailing before a raucous sellout crowd 18,713 at Staples Center.
Williams also was a member of the 2012 club, which won the franchise's first championship. However, the Kings right winger said this title run was much difference than two years ago. This time, Williams pointed out, the Kings captured three straight Game 7's -- including coming back from a seemingly improbable 3-0 deficit in the opening round to beat the San Jose Sharks -- en route to the Western Conference title before rolling past the Rangers in five games.
"We were not going to be denied, said Williams, who finished the postseason with 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists), second to teammate and center Anze Kopitar, who had 26. "The confidence in our room is no doubt. That (winning the Smythe) will never sink in. To get that trophy and get the ovation for my teammates and from everyone makes it pretty special.
"There are no words to describe what you're feeling right now. What we went through this year makes it so much more special. Each cup is unique, but God we earned this one."
Normally known for his Game 7 heroics, Williams set the tone in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Rangers. He gave Los Angeles an early lead, scoring at 6:04 of the first period. His aggressive play though out the pivotal game also factored in the Kings winning the Cup.
Williams delivered the game-winning goal in Game 1 of the finals. He recorded points in four of the final five games, including a three-assist performance in Game 2, which also was another Kings' overtime win.
Williams said he and his teammates were completely focused on taking home the Cup in Game 5 instead of Game 6 or 7.
"I saw a team determined not to go back to New York," Williams said.
Then he paused.
His play, though, spoke volumes.