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A LOOK BACK AT KINGS/OILERS '89

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
With the Washington Capitals coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the New York Rangers in Game 7, 2-1 on Tuesday night, the Capitals became just the 13th different team to rally to win a series after trailing 3-1.


In fact, teams have been down 3-1 in a seven-game series 231 times in NHL playoff history and just 21 times has the trailing team come back to win, including the Capitals on Tuesday. The Vancouver Canucks have been the most successful in that situation, winning three times in 1992, 1994 and 2003.

The Los Angeles Kings were the sixth team to have such a comeback, rebounding to win the last three games of the 1989 Division Semifinals against the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers after falling in three of the first four contests of the series.

LAKings.com takes a look back at that 1989 Kings-Oilers series.

Game 1
April 5, 1989: Edmonton 4, Kings 3
Series: 0-1

Mike Krushelnyski gave the Kings a 3-2 lead.

INGLEWOOD, CA - Wayne Gretzky met his former team for the first time in the post season since being traded to Los Angeles and the Oilers got some revenge, prevailing 4-3 in Game 1.

"It was a good game," Gretzky told the Winnipeg Free Press after the game. "It's playoff time and they're a tough team to beat. They played very hard. We played very hard, too."

Chris Kontos scored one minute into the first period on the Kings first power play, deflecting a Bernie Nicholls slap shot to put Los Angeles on the board.

The Kings held the lead for 16 minutes until Tomas Jonsson scored the only other even-strength tally of the game, poking the puck across the goal line to tie the game at one goal apiece.

Oiler defenseman Charlie Huddy started the second period with a top-shelf slap shot that gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead, but the Kings Steve Duchesne responded in kind for the Kings with 27 seconds remaining in the second period, tying the game again at 2-2.

Acquired by the Kings the previous summer along with Gretzky, Mike Krushelnyski once again gave the Kings the lead as he scored a third period power-play goal to make the score 3-2.

Esa Tikkanen and Craig Simpson then scored two unanswered goals in a 1:07-span of the third as the Edmonton Oilers prevailed in Game 1, 4-3.

With Kelly Hrudey held out of the lineup due to illness, goaltender Glenn Healy took the loss in net for the Kings making 31 saves.

NOTES: The series marked the fourth time that Edmonton and Los Angeles met in the post season (1982, 1985, 1987)… Duchesne was second among NHL defenseman in scoring during the regular season …Hrudey, out with the flu, had led the Kings to a win in the teams' last three meetings...Healy went 0-1 with a 3.72 GAA and a .898 SV% in the 1989 Stanley Cup Playoffs.


Game 2
April 6, 1989: Kings 5, Edmonton 2
Series: 1-1

Chris Kontos scored a goal in each period.

INGLEWOOD, CA - After playing a total of just 13 regular season games over two years with Los Angeles, Kings center Chris Kontos proved clutch for the team in Game 2 of the division semifinals as he scored in each period of the Kings 5-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers.

Returning from missing Game 1 with the flu, Kings goaltender Kelly Hrudey made 20 saves to earn the win.

Out shooting Edmonton 44-22, the Kings maintained the lead for all but 29 seconds of the second period when Oiler Mark Messier tied the game at one.

Bernie Nicholls scored his first goal of the postseason less than a half minute later, while Kontos and Wayne Gretzky found the back of the net shortly afterwards to give the Kings a 4-1 lead.

Tomas Jonsson scored his second goal in two games for Edmonton, but Kontos, who started the 1988-89 season in the Swiss Hockey League, put the game away for the Kings in the final frame with his third goal in as many periods.

NOTES: Kontos played more playoff games (20) with Los Angeles than regular season games as a King (19)...Kontos scored just 11 postseason goals in his career - all with the Kings - eight in this series and nine during the Kings 1989 playoff run...Kontos scored just six goals during the regular season with the Kings from 1987-90...Kontos owns the team record of six power-play goals in a single postseason...Kontos is one of nine Kings to record a playoff hat trick.


Game 3
April 8, 1989: Edmonton 4, Kings 0
Series: 1-2

Future King Jari Kurri had two goals for Edmonton.

EDMONTON, AB - Edmonton goaltender Grant Fuhr made 25 stops as he blanked the Los Angeles Kings 4-0 for his second career post season shutout.

Jimmy Carson and Steve Smith put Edmonton on the board in the first period, and set the tone for the game.

"This was an important game for us and we came out and smoked them," said Carson, the former King who scored the game-winning goal 15 minutes into the game. 

Oilers forward Jari Kurri scored his first two goals of the playoffs in 71 seconds of the second period, locking down the game for Edmonton.

NOTES: This game marked the ninth time in Kings history that the team was shutout in the post season... The Oilers were the sixth different team to blank Los Angeles in the playoffs, joining the NY Islanders, Toronto, Boston, Chicago and St. Louis.


Game 4
April 9, 1989: Edmonton 4, Kings 3
Series: 1-3

Defenseman Tom Laidlaw's goal put the Kings up 3-2 entering the third period.

EDMONTON, AB - Defenseman Steve Smith tapped in a rebound with 26 seconds left in regulation to give the Edmonton Oilers a victory over the Los Angeles Kings and a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven Smythe Division semifinal playoff series.

Charlie Huddy put the Oilers up 1-0, 4:47 into the first period. The Kings tied the score when Steve Duchesne lit the lamp off assists from Dave Taylor and Wayne Gretkzy, who assisted on all three Kings goals.

Jimmy Carson put the Oilers back on top with his second goal of the series with 2:21 left in the first.

Chris Kontos and Tom Laidlaw scored in the second for the Kings as they entered the final period of play holding a slim, 3-2 lead.

Normand Lacombe then tied the game and Smith won it scoring off a rebound with 26 seconds left to take a 3-1 series lead.

Kelly Hrudey made 28 saves in the loss.

NOTES: It was Laidlaw's first postseason goal since 1983 with the NY Rangers...Laidlaw had scored only one goal for the Kings in 1988-89, in 57 games...Duchesne scored four goals during the 1989 playoffs, which is tied with Rob Blake and Marty McSorley (1993), Paul Coffey (1992) and Duchesne again (1991) for the team record for goals by a defenseman in a single postseason.


Game 5
April 11, 1989: Kings 4, Edmonton 2
Series: 2-3

Kelly Hrudey made 32 saves

LOS ANGELES, CA - Chris Kontos opened the scoring for the third game and this time the Los Angeles Kings rode the emotional boost from that and the superb goaltending of Kelly Hrudey to a series-prolonging 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

"That first goal was the key for us," agreed center Bernie Nicholls who later scored his second playoff goal. "We have to get the lead."

The Kings got second-period goals from Nicholls and Luc Robitaille, his first of the playoffs, sandwiching Glenn Anderson's score for Edmonton, to carry a 3-1 lead into the third period.

Wayne Gretzky scored at 18:43 to cap the scoring. Gretzky also added two assists.

Kelly Hrudey stopped 32-of-34 shots while Los Angeles peppered Grant Fuhr with 43 shots as the two teams combined for 77 shots.

"We could probably play wide open against any team and we feel we could score but you don't want to do that against a team with the playoff experience of the Oilers," Kings coach Robbie Ftorek said after his club survived a hectic final 30 minutes thanks largely to the play of Hrudey.

Hrudey made 27 saves over the last two periods.

"Hrudey had a great game especially when we had the pressure on in the third period," agreed Oiler coach Glen Sather.

The Kings went 2-for-7 on the power play, while Edmonton went 1-for-3.

NOTES: The Kings improved to 7-14 when facing elimination with this win...The Kings are 14-23 all-time in elimination games...The Kings tallied a team-record 11 power play goals in the series vs. Edmonton...The two teams combined for 17, which is also a team record.


Game 6
April 13, 1989: Kings 4, Edmonton 1
Series: 3-3

Mike Allison's goal tied the game and inspired the Kings to a Game 6 win.

EDMONTON, AB - The Kings snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period with three unanswered goals to snap the Oilers 14-game home playoff win streak and force a Game 7 with a 4-1 victory at Edmonton.

Oilers defenseman Randall Gregg put the Oilers up 1-0 in the first and the Kings were held scoreless until Mike Allison scored one of greatest goals ( 700K) in Kings history as he came down the right wing with Gregg draped on his back, circled behind the Oilers' net, came out on the left side, and while being knocked to the ice, put the puck past Oiler goalie Grant Fuhr. The goal tied the game at 16:22 of the second period.

"It's a situation where all the guys here can do the job," Los Angeles coach Robbie Ftorek said of role players like Allison. "If it's their time to get a part of the spotlight, that's great."

Jim Wiemer scored the game winner 4:14 into the third period an Chris Kontos and Luc Robitaille also scored as the Kings.

Fuhr took the loss making 25 saves. Kelly Hrudey earned the win for the Kings in stopping 22-of-23 shots.

NOTES: Wiemer was once a member of the Oilers organization playing in 12 regular season games with Edmonton in 1987-88 scoring 1-2=3. He also appeared in two playoff games in 1987-88, going scoreless...He was traded to Traded to Los Angeles by Edmonton with Alan May for Brian Wilks and John English on March 7, 1989...Allison's goal was the only goal he scored in the 1989 playoffs...The Oilers last postseason home loss was Game 5 of the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals, a 4-3 loss to the Flyers on May 26, 1987.


Game 7
April 15, 1989: Kings 6, Edmonton 3
Series: 4-3

Bernie Nicholls had two goals, including the game winner, and two assists to lead the Kings to a Game 7 win.

INGLEWOOD, CA -Bernie Nicholls had two goals and two assists and Wayne Gretzky also tallied two goals and an assist as the Kings eliminated the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions with a 6-3 win before an assortment of celebrities including Jack Nicholson, John Candy, Sylvester Stallone, Kathleen Turner, Tom Hanks, Richard Dean Anderson, Alan Thicke and Former U.S. President Ronald Regan, whom were all in attendance at the Great Western Forum.

"Right now I feel a lot of mixed emotions," Gretzky said after the game. "I didn't enjoy playing this series. I'm happy for the people of LA, the coaches and I'm especially happy for Mr. (Bruce) McNall. Not to get too emotionally excited, because we still haven't won anything, but this was a gigantic step for this organization."

Gretzky scored in the opening minute of the first period on a two-on-one break to put the Kings on the board. Jari Kurri then tied it for Edmonton four minutes later and Chris Kontos put the Kings back on top with his eighth goal of the series as the Kings closed the first period with a 2-1 lead.

Craig Simpson then tied the score for Edmonton and Nicholls' first goal gave the Kings a 3-2 lead 6:51 into the second period. Kevin Lowe tied it again for the Oilers, bringing the score to 3-3 at 7:48.

Nicholls' second goal of the second period put the Kings ahead for good. With 3:37 left in the period and the Kings holding a 5-on-3 advantage, Gretzky passed to Nicholls, who skated across the slot and dumped a backhander past Grant Fuhr for a 4-3 lead. Dale Degray scored with 5:10 left and Gretzky's empty netter at 18:25 completed the scoring.

Kelly Hrudey stopped 31-of-34 shots to earn the win. Fuhr took the loss surrendering five goals on 29 shots.

NOTES: The Oilers had won the last two Stanley Cups and four of the past five...The Kings outscored the Oilers, 16-6 over the last three games of the series...It was the Kings first playoff series win since 1982, also against Edmonton...Kontos tallied eight goals in the series...Gretzky's second goal of the game, an empty netter, tied the New York Islanders Mike Bossy's playoff record 85 goals...The Oilers had not lost a playoff series since falling to the Calgary Flames in the 1986 Smythe Finals...Gretzky tallied 13 points (4-9=13) vs. the Oilers in the series, which is a Kings post season record (Gretzky also tallied 13 vs. Vancouver in 1993).

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