Even though they were in the midst of a furious battle with the Kings, Blackhawks players realized they took part in one special series against Los Angeles.
"I've been getting texts from family and friends saying how exciting the series has been," Bryan Bickell said.
"Being a part of it we know it's a special series -- a lot of ups and down, fast-paced games," Ben Smith said after Sunday's morning skate. "The loser of this series probably won't be remembered.
"We want to put ourselves in a spot where we can get that win -- be the guys that come out on top of this series, which has been one of the best series in a while."
It didn't work out that way for the Hawks, but even though they lost, their performnce in this series won't soon be forgotten.
Justin Williams came into Sunday's game with a well-deserved reputation as a monster in Game 7s -- courtesy of his 12 points in six career Game 7s -- but after the Kings' morning skate, the veteran forward was trying his best to downplay expectations.
"There might be pressure from outside sources, media-wise, but within the dressing room, I know if I don't score a goal, someone's going to and we're going to be successful that way," he said.
"We're not looking for one guy to be great, we're looking for everyone to be just a little bit better than good. We have a lot of individuals on this team who have success, and that carries on throughout the whole team."
It worked Sunday as the Kings battled their way to a 5-4 overtime victory, and Williams once again showed off his Game 7 magic with a goal and an assist on Alec Martinez's game-winner.
Though they've seen an awful lot of each other very late in the playoffs these past few seasons, there's not the hatred level one might expect between the Hawks and Kings.
"Definitely," said Brandon Saad, who opened the scoring in Game 7 with his sixth goal of the postseason. "I think over the years, when we've played each other, we both respect how good each other are."
Without the funny business ... at least most of the time.
"I don't think there's a lot of hatred or anything like that like we do with some teams," Bryan Bickell said. "We're out there to play hockey, play between the whistles."
In the house:
Bears receiver Brandon Marshall and the one-and-only Charles Barkley were on hand for Sunday's showdown at the United Center.
He said it:
"I love June hockey. June hockey is best. It's warm out. I mentioned it to (Dustin) Brownie on the way in. I said, 'I love playing in this nice weather. We're almost the only show in town and that makes it special.' "
-- Justin Williams