- [Narrator] We're in Los Angeles, California.
It's April 10th, 1982, game three
of the Smythe Divisional Semi-Finals
between the Kings and the Oilers.
The teams are tied at five and we're in overtime
with a face-off in the Oiler zone.
You might know what's about to happen
but none of these guys do.
They've battled for over three periods
and just 20 minutes earlier, wouldn't have believed
they'd need overtime to decide this.
For everything that got us to this moment
and made tonight a once in a lifetime game, let's rewind.
Tonight marked the 11th time in 83 games this season
that the Oilers and Kings faced one another.
That's over an eighth of their games
against the same opponent and prior to the 81-82 season,
they'd only met eight times total.
This was partly due to Edmonton joining the NHL just
three years earlier but it was also thanks to
some big changes implemented by the league for this season.
Looking to promote rivalries within divisions,
they made the bulk of each teams schedule inter-divisional
games. In an effort to save money on travel expenses, the
NHL also shook up the divisions so
they were more geographically defined.
Instead of being grouped with Detroit, Pittsburgh, Hartford,
and Montreal, the Kings shifted to the Smythe,
with Calgary, Vancouver, Colorado, and Edmonton.
For L.A., having to face the Oilers
with more regularity could've come at a better time.
Edmonton began their life in the NHL
with 28 and 29-win seasons, before
becoming a force in year three.
In the 81-82 season, they finished second
in the league standings, behind the
two-time defending champion, Islanders.
Edmonton won the Smythe by 34 points and the biggest reason
for their success was this guy.
Wayne Gretzky had a season that
those following the sport had never seen before.
He became the fastest player ever to score 50 goals
in a season, breaking “Rocket” Richard
and Mike Bossy's record by 11 games.
He went on to score a new NHL record, 92 goals
and also broke his own records for assists and total points.
Gretzky wasn't the only one though. The Oilers became the
first team ever to score 400 goals in a season, finishing
with 417, which was 71 more than the next highest scorer
in the conference.
They were built on speed and had the youth
to keep it up for an entire year.
Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Glenn Anderson,
Jari Kurri, all of these guys were still
under 21 by the end of the season.
And now in overtime, Edmonton's hoping
their kids can reignite the offensive spark
that they opened the game with.
Back in the first period everything had gone right
for the Oilers, the game had opened up as a race
between the teams, which played perfectly
into the hand of Edmonton.
The Oilers scored first on a quick counter
where Glenn Anderson found Messier cross-ice
and the center put it in from 40 feet out.
This is what they'd done all season, using their speed
in the open ice to let passing dictate the offense.
Most defenses at the time mainly paid attention
to just the guy with the puck.
You stop him and you stop the offense.
The Oilers though played with an emphasis
on passing and off-puck skating, a style
that was more common in Europe than North America.
And while their speed and stretch passes also led
to turnovers, when the offense averaged
over five goals per game, they could deal
with some slip-ups.
Later in the first period, Gretzky added
to the lead by doing, well, what he does.
That short-handed goal put the Oilers up two-nothing
at intermission and 43 seconds into the second,
Edmonton netted another goal during that same penalty kill.
From there, tempers started to flare,
19 penalties were called in the second period,
which included six coincidental minors, another area
that the Oilers had been capitalizing on all season.
With players sitting from both sides, their style
of offense put them at an advantage, since fewer bodies
on the ice meant more space to go to work.
This was on display just over five minutes
into the second, when Gretzky stole the puck
behind the Kings net during a three on three.
The defense turned his way giving Siltanen room
to bury a one timer that actually went through the net
causing play a continue, until the ref signaled goal,
Edmonton's fourth. A few minutes later, Gretzky nabbed
his second of the night and the teams headed
into the third separated by five goals.
Not a great start for L.A. and honestly,
this is what people expected from the series.
A year after a 43 win season where
they made the playoffs as the fourth seed.
The Kings disappointed in 81-82.
They won just 24 games and only reached the post season
thanks to the NHL's new penchant for divisional match-ups,
which they also built the playoffs around.
With a roster nearly identical to the year before, the
big change for the King's came in the coaching department.
Bob Berry, who had coached L.A. since '78, left
for Montreal and the club promoted assistant coach,
Parker MacDonald, to take his spot.
MacDonald had a checkered coaching past.
He won AHL Coach of the Year, with L.A.'s affiliated team
in New Haven, but was yet to coach a full season
in the pros.
That wouldn't change this year, as he led the King's
to a record of 13-24-and-5.
After that, the organization changed his title
to assistant GM and brought in Don Perry as his successor.
Another coach from the New Haven Nighthawks.
In Perry's first month on the job,
he'd receive a six game suspension
for ordering Paul Mulvey to leave the bench
to join a brawl.
Despite the turmoil surrounding the team, the
Kings would slightly improve their winning
percentage under Perry, but if their regular season series
with the Oilers was any indication, their time
in the playoffs would be short.
That season, L.A. won one of eight games against Edmonton
and forced two ties while being outscored 51 to 27.
This included back to back losses to the Oilers
at the end of the season, which added
to a five game skid going into the post season
for the Kings, all while Edmonton was unbeaten
in their last nine.
But streaks can come to an end and the Kings quickly proved
they weren't going to bend over to Gretzky
and company through the first two games.
After being down four-one just nine minutes
into the series, the Kings rallied back
in an offensive back and forth that broke the record
for most goals in an NHL playoff game.
L.A. pulled off the upset in Edmonton,
after winning just five games on the road, all season.
Their unexpected points leader, rookie Daryl Evans,
scored twice in the second and added a pair of assists.
Playing in just his 14th professional game,
Those second period goals matched his season total
and he carried the momentum into game two
where he netted his third of the playoffs.
The Kings took the Oilers to overtime
and despite Gretzky giving Edmonton a three-two win,
L.A. had already done more than was expected of them.
They headed to the forum for games three and four,
where no one would have guessed they'd have a chance
to take the series in front of their home crowd.
But that would require winning tonight
and winning tonight would require a miraculous effort
Back to the start of the third and the Kings still faced
that five nothing hole.
A hard check by Dave Lumley in the corner got
everyone fired up and following a minor scrum,
each team was down to four skaters.
This time though, L.A. would be the team
to capitalize on the extra ice.
With Jay Wells sending in the Kings first of the night.
Less than four minutes later, L.A. found themselves
with their ninth power-play of the game.
And they finally ended one early, thanks
to Doug Smith putting in a rebound just
under the crossbar.
With their lead trimmed to three, the Oilers offense tried
to heat back up, but when their chances weren't snuffed
out by the Kings, the goalpost made the stops.
Gretzky would take a stick to the face, skaters paired
up and it looked like momentum was done swinging
in L.A.'s favor, as the Kings gifted the Oilers a
five on three advantage.
But the Oilers offense was stymied just long enough
and with under five and 1/2 remaining, the Kings made
their final push.
It started with a steal in the Oilers end, which led
to Charlie Simmer sneaking one in from behind the net.
Less than a minute later, the Kings broke out off
a Gretzky turnover and Steve Bozek hit a wrister
for L.A.'s second four on four goal for the game.
With under a minute to play, now down one,
an Oilers penalty plus an empty net gave the
Kings a two-man advantage.
The final 15 seconds had both teams scrambling
in the Oilers end before the puck reached Hardy
at the point.
- [Sports Announcer] In front, to the blue line,
to Hardy, he shoots, save, rebound, score!
I see it and I still don't believe it.
- [Narrator] With five seconds left, Bozek put
in the rebound and after one last face-off, the teams
headed to overtime.
In extra time though, it once again looked
like the Kings magic had run out, 20 seconds
in and Lessard's attempt to corral a shot, sent
The puck found Messier, who got a chance
at an untended net, but he sailed it wide.
After some back and forth play, the Kings were able
to establish possession and Doug Smith threw
in a shot that Fuhr grabbed and hung on to.
Which brings us to this face-off
and despite all the scoring that's happened tonight, one
of the Kings on the ice is still looking to make his mark.
In the 1980 NHL entry draft, the Kings took Daryl Evans
in the second to last round at 178 overall.
Evans spent most of 81-82 with the Kings AHL affiliate
in New Haven, before getting called up
for the final month of the regular season
and his first games in the majors.
He made just over a dozen appearances,
but went mostly unnoticed before this series began.
Just a few months removed from newspapers misspelling
his name, Evans was looking to give them reason
to get it right, but so far tonight, he was yet
to show up in the score summary.
And as the forum waits for the face-off,
no one knows what'll come next in
this already miraculous comeback.
The Kings have battled back just to get here,
while the Oilers had to scramble to regain
their composure and now hope to put an end
to this improbable night.
All the names you'd expect have been involved
and have given brilliant performances,
while an unheralded rookie waits in the wings, looking
to cement his spot in the pros.
Unknown to them, it would all come down
to this final drop of the puck.
Welcome to a moment in history.
- [Sports Announcer] On the draw, shot by Evans, it's good!
Oh! (crowd roaring)