The Los Angeles Kings required numerous clutch performances in order to win the Stanley Cup Final, and the team’s gutsiest performer, forward Justin Williams, received the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL’s postseason MVP following their Cup-clinching Game 5 double-overtime victory.
The Kings’ Twitter account announced the news:
and your Conn Smythe MVP is… Justin Williams.— LA Kings (@LAKings) June 14, 2014
The Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliiot reported the reaction of the crowd as Williams received his hardware:
Conn Smythe goes to Justin Williams. crowd roars, loves it— Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) June 14, 2014
Montreal Canadiens forward P.K. Subban was quick to congratulate Williams on Twitter:
Williams was clutch for the Kings throughout the entire postseason. He tallied a point in each of L.A.'s three Game 7s, including goals against the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks, and finished the 2014 postseason with 25 points and nine goals.
Williams’ former teammate Jeremy Roenick noted during the Final that the quick winger is the kind of player who doesn't shy away from big moments.
Williams continued his clutch brilliance in the Stanley Cup Final. He led the Kings with seven points in the series and scored the overtime winner in Game 1. He didn’t shy away from the spotlight in the deciding Game 5 either, slotting the puck past Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist for the opening score of the game.
San Jose Sharks beat writer Ross McKeon was quick to point out that several members of the Kings were deserving of the coveted trophy:
Mark of a great team -- Conn Smythe could have gone to Kopitar, Quick, Doughty, Gaborik or Williams. Lots of contributors, no passengers— Ross McKeon (@rossmckeon) June 14, 2014
The 32-year-old winger flew under the radar all season, with high-profile players like defenseman Drew Doughty and center Anze Kopitar garnering the majority of the recognition for the team's success.
Now that he has a valuable piece of hardware to his name, the veteran Williams is likely to enjoy an upsurge in popularity and should continue to be a fixture in the Kings' lineup next season.
His contract is up after the 2014-15 season, and the Kings would be wise to lock him up for the long haul given his success in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs.