Justin Williams was the scorer of one of the greatest goals and calls in Carolina Hurricanes history. Chuck Kaiton’s famous call went, “He won the Stanley Cup. Justin Williams has won the Stanley Cup for the Carolina Hurricanes…” This was obviously the call for the Stanley Cup-clinching empty-netter by Justin Williams in Game 7 on June 19, 2006.
Justin Williams’ Hurricanes career started during much lesser times when he was obtained in a trade for Danny Markov in early 2004. After a short run getting his feet wet at the end of the 2003-04 season and a year in Sweden for the lockout, he hit the ground running for the 2005-06 season. Pretty much from the start, Williams was paired with Rod Brind’Amour to make up two-thirds of what was one of the best shutdown lines in the entire NHL. In addition to stellar defense, each member of the duo scored 31 goals, doing their part to lead the Canes from a projected bottom five finish to a place atop the NHL in the regular season. He finished the 2005-06 regular season with a career-high (as of August 2015) 76 points in 82 games.
He was just as good in the playoffs. With a lesser role on the power play, Justin Williams finished tied for third in scoring with 18 points and finished tied for first with an impressive plus 12 in 25 playoff games. Put simply, the Canes won when Williams was on the ice. He was good throughout the playoffs but was arguably at his best in the Eastern Conference Finals versus Buffalo. In that series, he scored three goals and added three assists including a goal in a pivotal game five and a goal and two assists in the deciding game seven. In the Stanley Cup Finals, Williams came up big with a goal and an assist in a wild game one and finished it all with the empty-netter at 18:59 of the third period of game seven that assured that the Stanley Cup would be lifted in victory not defeat on June 19, 2006.
Williams had a similarly solid 2006-07 campaign notching 33 goals and 34 assists on a Hurricanes team that battled injuries, struggled and ultimately missed the playoffs. After injuries limited his ice time and production in 2007-08 and 2008-09, he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on March 5, 2009. There he continued the Stanley Cup-winning success and game seven clutch scoring that he started with the Carolina Hurricanes. As a Hurricane, #11 finished with 81 goals and 120 assists for 201 points in 265 regular season games. But it was Justin Williams’ playoff heroics and role in the magical 2005-06 season that vault him amongst the greats in Carolina Hurricanes history.