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Playoff Push: Lessons from Kings vs Alberta Rivalry

How the LA Kings can look to the past for motivation against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames

by Jesse Cohen @KingsMenPodcast /

The LA Kings next two games (and six of their remaining 12) are against the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.

From 1981-93, these three rivals combined to play against each other in 16 playoff series. Each team seemed to take turns as the dominant divisional force, with the Oilers being crowned Smythe Division Champion six consecutive seasons (1982-87), the Flames for three consecutive seasons (1988-90), and the Kings once in 1991, followed by their 1993 Campbell Conference playoff victory on their way to the Stanley Cup Final.

Nowadays, things are a little different. The Oilers haven't made the playoffs since 2006 and the Flames have only had a single playoff appearance since 2009, but this season both teams have reemerged as dangerous division rivals.

While trying to catch the St. Louis Blues for a Wildcard spot would presumably be the simpler task, the Kings playoff hopes rest on their ability to defeat the Oilers and Flames twice each in the span of 10 days - with all four games in Alberta - and that's no vacation.

While these are just regular season games, each may as well be a playoff game for the Kings.

If the Kings are going to defeat their old foes, it will require the kind of inspirational effort of those days gone by. It's in this spirit that I now bring you the highlights from one of the greatest Alberta moments in franchise history.

Maybe not that great.

Kings vs. Oilers Game 5 in 1982 Smythe Division Semifinal

Everybody knows about the "Miracle on Manchester," the six-goal-overtime-comeback win against the high-powered Oilers at the Great Western Forum.

It's widely considered one of the coolest comebacks in all of sports. It would have been ultimately relegated to the shark tank of history had the Kings not gone on to win Game 5, and the series, back in Edmonton.

Watch: Youtube Video

Edmonton had won Game 4 in LA by a score of 3-2, to force a decisive fifth game at the Northlands Coliseum. In the four games leading up to the tie breaking matchup, Wayne Gretzky had scored an incredible 11 points (4-7=11).

This was also after a regular season where the Kings had finished 48 points behind the Oilers in the standings.

A second miracle seemed like too much to ask for.

Watch: Youtube Video

Watch: Youtube Video

Watch: Youtube Video

While the game has changed significantly since this series was played 35 years ago, there are still lessons to be learned from Game 5. Hopefully, the lesson the Kings will take away from this remarkable game is the one the Oilers seemed to.

When you score seven goals, you tend to win the game.

Oh, and also, miracles can happen more than once. You just have to…

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