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Evans still basks in 'Miracle's' glow

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Doug Ward | correspondent
Mar 10, 2007, 12:00 PM EST

April 10 will mark the 25th anniversary of the night Daryl Evans blasted an overtime goal over the shoulder of Edmonton goaltender Grant Fuhr, thus ending one of the wildest games in Stanley Cup Playoff history.

Evans' Kings had trailed the Oilers, 5-0, after two periods of Game 3 of their best-of-five first-round series. But five unanswered third-period goals by the Kings set the stage for the winger to end the greatest single-game comeback in postseason history.

Evans was a 21-year-old rookie at the time of his most famous goal. He's 46 now, which means he has lived longer with the distinction of being the guy that scored the winning goal in what has become known as the "Miracle on Manchester" than he has without it.

The goal itself has lived on as one of the greatest moments in the 41-year history of the Kings. At the time he scored it, however, Evans had no idea people would still be asking him about it a quarter of a century later.

"I don't think I learned to appreciate it until long afterward," Evans admits. "When it happens, the emotion and the adrenaline in your body at the time kind of puts you in a state of shock and you don't really realize what you've accomplished."

The Kings weren't supposed to accomplish anything in their first-round series with the Oilers. They entered the series as heavy underdogs after finishing 48 points behind the Oilers in the regular season. But the Kings surprised Edmonton, 10-8, in Game 1 in Edmonton, and the Oilers needed a Game 2 overtime goal from Wayne Gretzky to salvage a home split before the series shifted to Los Angeles.

A sellout crowd of 16,005 greeted the Kings at old Forum (which was located on Manchester Blvd. in Inglewood — hence the name "Miracle on Manchester). It wasn't long, however, before Edmonton took the crowd out of the game.

Mark Messier opened the scoring for coach Glen Sather's high-powered Oilers. Then, just before the first period ended, Gretzky scored a shorthanded goal to give Edmonton a 2-0 lead at the first intermission.

Things quickly got out of hand in the second period as Oilers defenseman Lee Fogolin scored another shorthanded goal, with Gretzky assisting. Edmonton got two more second-period goals, one from Risto Siltanen, and another from Gretzky to take a commanding 5-0 lead.

After two periods, both the Saturday night crowd and the Kings were lifeless, and owner Jerry Buss threw in the towel, leaving the building to head to his weekend retreat in Palm Springs.

"Everybody expected us to be out in three games," Evans says. "The 5-0 score was probably a reflection of what everybody thought would happen."

What happened next, no one expected.

Not even the Kings.

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