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Thirty years ago, Kings pulled off playoff miracle

Tuesday, 04.10.2012 / 4:40 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

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Thirty years ago, Kings pulled off playoff miracle
Tuesday is the 30th anniversary of the greatest comeback in NHL history. The "Miracle on Manchester" happened April 10, 1982, when the Los Angeles Kings erased a 5-0 deficit against the Edmonton Oilers to claim a 6-5 overtime victory in Game 3 of an opening-round playoff series.

Tuesday is not only the eve of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs -- it's also the 30th anniversary of the greatest comeback in NHL history.

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The "Miracle on Manchester" happened April 10, 1982, when the Los Angeles Kings erased a 5-0 deficit against the Edmonton Oilers to claim a 6-5 overtime victory in Game 3 of an opening-round playoff series.

Edmonton, led by young superstars Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, took a 5-0 lead into the second intermission and appeared poised to grab a 2-1 lead in a series the Oilers were heavy favorites to win. The Kings, in part motivated by some laughing and joking coming from the Edmonton bench during the second period, stormed back in the final 20 minutes and tied the contest at 5-5 with five seconds left in regulation.

Daryl Evans, now a radio analyst for the Kings, etched his name into franchise and hockey lore by completing the remarkable comeback with a goal 2:35 into overtime.

"It's something that I'll always be able to cherish. I think I've learned to appreciate it more in the years as it's passed," Evans told Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times. "There were so many things, aside from being down the five goals in the game and coming back and winning it. It was also against a team that we'd played during the season and 48 points separated the two teams. It just brings out that much more how unbelievable it was.

"It's great having people reflect upon it and remember it. There are a great number of people who do. And I think it's important also for the young players growing up in California and the Los Angeles area that they understand and know a lot of these things. I remember when I was a young kid growing up in Toronto, there were only six teams in the NHL at that time and you used to remember great individual moments. This wasn't only just a great moment in Kings history, it's one of the greater moments in the history of the game, something that's never been done in postseason play."

The win helped catapult the Kings past the Oilers in five games. Just collecting a best-of-five series victory would have been one of the biggest upsets in League history for the Kings, but the "Miracle on Manchester" made it even more memorable.

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