In the Championship round of any team sport there’s one player that stands out to will his team to victory. In the case of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, Los Angeles Kings forward Justin Williams has been that guy.
The Kings hold a 3-0 lead in the Final against the New York Rangers and stand one win away from the Cup; Williams has been the biggest reason why.
Los Angeles has rallied from multiple-goal deficits in the first two games of the series and eventually won both in overtime. Williams was the catalyst of both comebacks with five points in those two games including the overtime winner in Game 1.
In Game 2 the Kings were down by two goals at three separate times, and Williams had assists on L.A.’s first three goals to spark the comeback. He followed that up with the primary assist on the game-winning goal in Game 3.
Williams leads all players in scoring in the Final with six points and has an amazing plus-14 rating in the playoffs. The Kings have developed the reputation of being resilient when their backs are against the wall, and Williams has been the main contributor to most of their unlikely comebacks.
Not only has he helped fuel comebacks for the entire playoffs, but he’s also scored some gigantic goals at clutch times. In recent memory it’s hard to recall a player who has scored more big goals than Williams.
His great play should get him strong consideration for the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the player recognized as the MVP of the playoffs. Entering the Final Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty seemed to be the front-runners from the Kings team to win the award. Henrik Lundqvist would probably win it if the Rangers won the cup, but it doesn’t seem likely given the Kings’ large lead.
Although Kopitar has more points, Williams has delivered when it’s been needed most. There are plenty of Kings players who could be considered for MVP of the entire playoffs, but Williams has been the MVP of the Final for sure.