L.A.’s greatest sports moments No. 17: ‘Miracle on Manchester’
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We asked you to send in your picks for the greatest sports moments in L.A. history, and 1,181 ballots later we are unveiling the top 20 vote-getters. Each weekday we will unveil a new moment until we reach No. 1.
No. 17: Miracle on Manchester (three first-place votes, 2,508 points)
Ask Kings fans what’s their favorite moment in team history and odds are they will say the ‘Miracle On Manchester.’
On April 10, 1982, the Kings took on the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 of a best-of-five first-round NHL playoff series. The Oilers were heavy favorites in the series and took a 5-0 lead after two periods of Game 3 at The Forum (located on Manchester Boulevard) Then, the miracle.
Jay Wells took a shot from about 25 feet out that went through the legs of teammate Dave Taylor and past Oilers goaltender Grant Fuhr at 2:46 to make the score 5-1.
Less than three minutes later, Kings forward Doug Smith took a shot that went under the crossbar and into the net. It was 5-2.
The Oilers attempted to clear the puck from their zone, but it was intercepted by Kings forward Dean Hopkins, who quickly passed to Charlie Simmer, who jammed the puck past Fuhr. 5-3.
Later, defenseman Mark Hardy cut past Gretzky and scored. 5-4.
Because of a penalty to Garry Unger, the Kings had a man advantage for the final three minutes of the game. With a minute left, the Kings pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, giving them a two-man advantage. With 45 seconds left in regulation, Marcel Dionne had the puck and skated around, looking for an open shot or pass. Dionne sent the puck to Simmer and headed to the front of the net. Simmer passed to Dionne, who shot, but Fuhr made the save. The rebound slid to the right-wing boards, where Jim Fox took control of the puck from Gretzky. Fox passed to Hardy, who shot. Fuhr stopped it, but the rebound went to Steve Bozek, who scored with five seconds left, tying the score and sending the game into overtime.
Then, 2:35 into overtime, Daryl Evans scored on a slap shot to give the Kings a miraculous 6-5 victory. The rest of the Kings mobbed Evans behind the net as the crowd erupted in disbelief.
The Kings went on to win the series, 3-2, before losing in the second round to Vancouver. But they gave their fans a game they will never forget.
-- Houston Mitchell