Justin Williams brings Stanley Cup success to Capitals
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) New Washington Capitals right wing Justin Williams says a lot of little things go into winning a Game 7. The Capitals are looking to Williams to add some zest and help them change their playoff fortunes.
Washington signed Williams, formerly of the Los Angeles Kings, to $6.5 million, two year contract on July 1.
''It's a goal here or there, it's a blocked shot. It's just miniscule things that add up to the end result,'' Williams said Friday during a press conference at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
The 33-year-old Williams played on three Stanley Cup champion teams, once with the Carolina Hurricanes and twice with the Kings. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason MVP with the Kings in 2014.
He spoke with Capitals coach Barry Trotz before agreeing to come to Washington.
''He expressed that he felt I could be a big part of this team and help this team get over the hump,'' Williams said.
Williams is 7-0 in Game 7s with seven goals and seven assists. He also scored the game-winner, in overtime, in Game 1 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals against the Rangers.
The Capitals have lost six of their past nine Game 7s. That included last season's Eastern Conference semifinals, when they fell in seven games to the Rangers after building a 3-1 lead.
Williams said his Game 7 success has been a byproduct of strong teams. He was asked if there'll be more pressure on him to deliver in the playoffs for Washington.
''Maybe. I don't want to get too far ahead of anything,'' he said. ''The hardest part of this is just making the playoffs. There's a lot of great teams that don't make (it). Let's focus on that first, and we'll deal with playoffs when it comes around.''
Williams totaled 18 goals and 23 assists in 81 games last season. He has registered 582 points (227 goals, 355 assists) in 918 career games over 14 seasons with Philadelphia, Carolina and Los Angeles.
He's added 30 goals and 48 assists in 115 playoff games.
Williams wasn't the only top-six forward Washington added last week. They traded with St. Louis to obtain right wing T.J. Oshie, someone Williams is familiar with from the Western Conference.
''We've played a couple of playoff series together, that I'll remind him I ended up on top (in),'' Williams said, joking. ''He's the little pit bull. He hits like a truck but he can stick handle through a phone booth, and he's got a lot of great qualities.''
With the Kings not making the playoffs last season, Williams got to watch some postseason hockey for a change, including the Capitals.
''They were tough to play against,'' he said. ''Good goalie, dynamic players, good defense. All the ingredients of a championship team.''