Game 7’s are truly a special experience like few others. In the NHL playoffs, they cause a range of emotions that like no other event can. The ups and downs alone can make a person go through a case of Tums. That is a true story as I have seen it happen (see 2000 Eastern Conference Finals Game 7). Either way, last night’s game was one for the ages and some are considering it one of the best series in the last 25 years.
It is time to quickly get down to business and series previews for the Final are just a day or two away. In the meantime, it’s time for those fantasy hockey three stars.
Fantasy Hockey Three Stars
Third Star — Alec Martinez — Los Angeles Kings
The series ending goal had to be given a place somewhere. Game 7 was in the early stages of the first overtime when suddenly Alec Martinez ended the series putting the puck past Corey Crawford. What ensued was a celebration that almost felt like Lord Stanley’s silver chalice was on the line. It really was that kind of series. The crowd went into a stunned silence and Martinez, who had an adventure of a season, sent his team to the Stanley Cup Final which starts on Wednesday. Talk about a memory that will likely last a very long time.
Second Star — Patrick Sharp — Chicago Blackhawks
A funny thing about scoring two goals in a Game 7 is what if you score them in a losing effort? That is exactly what happened to Patrick Sharp, who looked the best he had in the entire series and yet it still was not enough. That is just how it goes sometimes. Sharp nearly had a hat trick but it was not meant to be. Ultimately, neither was the series as someone had to lose. Sharp’s effort was that close to being enough…that close.
First Star — Justin Williams — Los Angeles Kings
The series ending goal does not likely happen without the effort of Justin Williams, who is just always there when it comes to a Game 7. His primary assist was the catalyst of sorts for the Alec Martinez goal that sent the Kings to the Stanley Cup Final. Granted, Martinez had a shot that seemed to pinball and flutter into the net but the bottom line is the primary assist went to Williams. It was another multiple point effort in a Game 7 for the forward. His goal earlier in the game tied the game at 2 and that set the stage a bit for what happened later. LA was down 2-0 early and did not fold up the tent. Now, with the help of Williams and company, they are on their way to a second Stanley Cup Final in three seasons.
Do not forget fantasy hockey fans, a special Fantasy Hockey X is on Monday night recapping the Conference Finals and sets the stage for the Stanley Cup Final.