If you are a fan of the National Hockey League (NHL), you’ll no doubt have fond memories of ‘The Miracle on Manchester’. Even if you’re too young to have been there on that night in 1982, you will have heard this game referred to as the best ever played which was played Manchester Boulevard, in Inglewood, California.
What makes this game so memorable is that, even now, it is the game with the biggest comeback in NHL history. Even though the underdogs, the Kings, were on their home turf, no one could have predicted the performance that was to come that saw off the Edmonton Oilers.
The first two games
What was to become known as ‘The Miracle on Manchester’ was the third game of five between the Kings and the Oilers. This was all part of the first-round playoffs where the top four teams from each division qualified. The Oilers had been through an impressive season and came into the series as strong favourites.
That strong form didn’t necessarily translate to what would take place on the ice against the Kings though. The Kings took the first game, winning 10-8, with the Oilers regaining their pride in game two coming away with a 3-2 victory. Both games were close and neither saw the Oilers dominating as had been expected.
Game three – AKA The Miracle
The third game of the series saw the Kings playing at their home arena, The Forum on Manchester Boulevard. There is a lot to be said about having a home advantage and your fans behind you, but no one was prepared for what was about to come.
The first two periods saw the Oilers dominate, much to the frustration of the home crowd. By the end of the second, it seemed that the game was all but over with the Kings being 5-0 down. Of course, the season as a whole had suggested that this is the way the game would go, but the Kings weren’t about to just accept defeat.
Period three changed it all
As the team entered the third and final period it appeared that the game was all but done. With a 5 point deficit, there was little hope that the Kings would be able to turn things around in such a short space of time. As history shows though, the Kings had other ideas.
By the end of the third period, the teams were level pegging at 5-5. The Oilers were in a state of shock whereas the Kings were riding high.
Overtime and Daryl Evans
It was overtime that saw Daryl Evans score the decider and see the Kings mount a historic comeback. Almost 40 years later, this is still the greatest comeback ever witnessed in the NHL.
Betway spoke with former LA Kings star Evans, who recalls, “it was an incredible moment. I’ve learned to appreciate it more now, many years removed from it.” He goes on to remind us how the odds really were in the Oilers favour “Looking at the two teams lined up going into the playoffs, Gretzky’s team had 46 more points than us during the regular season. It was supposed to be a walkover.”
Rather than the anticipated walkover, Evans and the Kings provided the greatest spectacle ever seen on ice and one that will never be forgotten.
Source: NHL lines site Betway