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Don’t Give Up On The Comeback Kings

With the Los Angeles Kings returning to the playoffs after missing them last year, the Kings have found themselves behind in an early hole against the San Jose Sharks.  The Kings thus far have played sloppy, are not generating much offense and seem to be having trouble with staying out of the penalty box.  With that said, the games against the Sharks have remained close and tight that ended as one goal affairs. In other words, there is still hope so it’s not time yet to give up on the Comeback Kings.  There is still a lot of hockey left to be played.

If my words are not enough to settle your nerves and doubts than how about a trip back down memory lane?  I have put together a Top 5 list of the greatest playoff comebacks in LA Kings’ history just to remind everyone that even if this team is down in a series 0-2, 1-3 or even 0-3, the Kings are still in the fight and can still find a way to comeback and win.  So go grab your orange Marty McFly vests and dust off your Delorean because HERE … WE … GOOOO!!!

Los Angeles Kings vs St. Louis Blues — 2013

This series does not get mentioned enough.  Maybe it is because it happened during a season where the players were on strike against the NHL and half the season was wiped out?  Maybe it’s because the Kings ended up losing in 5 games in the western conference final to the eventual Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks.  For whatever the reason, this comeback by the  defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings should never be ignored.

A re-match from the previous season’s playoffs which the Kings won in a sweep, the regular season powerhouse St. Louis Blues stormed out of the gate for this first round match up with revenge on their minds and revenge is what they got by beating LA, 2-1 in the first two games.  The Kings found themselves in an early 0-2 hole due to sloppy play and not generating much offense (sound familiar) but they were able to tighten up on their defense, be weary of puck giveaways and to take advantage of more offensive opportunities. The result was a nail biter of a slug fest that had every game be won by just one goal with the Kings as victors in four straight games to reverse sweep the Blues 4-2.  The final nail in the coffin for St. Louis turned out to be Dustin Penner’s (remember him?) series winning rocket of a goal at the very end of the second period of game 6 with less than a second to go! The Kings showed that even if they play poorly early on in a series, they can still regroup and readjust to comeback and win.

 

 Los Angeles Kings vs Anaheim Ducks — 2014

In the second round of the 2014 playoffs, we all finally got to witness something that everyone had been waiting for, for a very long time. That is of course the FREEWAY FACEOFF playoff battle between the Interstate 5 rival Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

The Kings started strong by taking a 2-0 lead in the series but then lost the next three games to the Ducks, including a 2-0 shutout loss to rookie goaltender John Gibson.  Now behind 2-3 in the series, the Kings needed to make a comeback and won game 6 at home before storming into the Honda Center for game 7 and humiliating the Ducks with a 6-2 victory! This made NHL history as the Kings became the first team ever to lose three straight games in two straight playoff series and still win the series!  The first series, will be mentioned later in the article but until then, enjoy these highlights and remember, these Kings don’t ever quit!

 

Los Angeles Kings vs Edmonton Oilers – 1989

I call this series, “Gretzky’s revenge.” Edmonton Oilers owner Peter “Puck” Pocklington was losing a lot of money with his other business ventures and sold … I mean traded “the Great One” Wayne Gretzky to the Smythe division rival Los Angeles Kings, kick starting a powerful tidal wave of hockey fever that is still felt in California to this very day.

In a beautiful and ironic twist of fate (or storytelling by the Hockey Gods), the first team Pocklington’s Oilers had to face in the first round of those 1989 playoffs was non –other than the team they traded their protocol son to, the Los Angeles Kings.  As the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Oilers still had a lot of championship experience and depth and quickly took a 3-1 lead in the series before Gretzky and his new friends including Luc Robitaille, Bernie Nicholls, Kelly Hrudey, Mike Allison and Chris Kontos went to work.  Before Pocklington could blink, the Kings had beaten the Oilers in Edmonton 4-1 to force a game 7 in LA and in front of an electric and vocal Great Western Forum crowd, the Kings completed the comeback, series win and Gretzky’s revenge by defeating the Champs and Gretzky’s former team, 6-3!  The Kings had now finally become serious Stanley Cup contenders!

 
Los Angeles Kings vs Edmonton Oilers — 1982

Here’s another classic playoff battle between the Kings and the Oilers and this time it takes place in 1982 when the Los Angeles Kings were a struggling franchise with a horrible playoff history.  They were a team that no one ever took seriously even though they had a legendary player and future Hall of Famer in Marcel Dionne and the very successful “Triple Crown line” of Dionne, Dave Taylor and Charlie Simmer.  The Kings were the butt ends of many cruel jokes.

The Oilers had “Das Wunderkind” Wayne Gretzky and they were expected to steamroll over the lowly Kings without much of a fuss.  The Oiler players expected it as well and weren’t shy to show it as they openly mocked and made fun of the Kings during game 3 after taking a 5-0 lead in the game.  It’s easy to say that the Kings did not take this too kindly and got angry.  Plugging away and refusing to give the arrogant Oilers an inch, the Kings started scoring some goals and climbed their way back into the game and series by tying it 5-5 in the 3rd period when Charlie Simmer scored (after Jim Fox stole the puck from Gretzky and set up Mark Hardy at the point) with seconds left to go in the game!  The Oilers could not believe what was happening!  In overtime, Kings grinder Daryl Evans (keep it shiny!) scored the OT winner for the Kings after an offensive zone face-off and completed the comeback after being down 0-5! The “Miracle on Manchester” legend was born and the Kings then went on to win the series by upsetting the heavily favored Oilers in 5 games!  No one was mocking or laughing at the Kings after that!

 

Los Angeles Kings vs San Jose Sharks — 2014

The Kings looked like they did not belong.  They looked like they could nothang.  They looked overrated and washed up.  It was now looking like their 2012 Stanley Cup victory was a fluke.  That is what most people were saying after the Kings went down 0-3 to the Pacific Division and California rival San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2014 playoffs.  They couldn’t have been more wrong.

Facing insurmountable odds and adversity and with their backs up against the wall, the Kings roared back and won game four 6-3.  Then they shut-out the Sharks 3-0 in game five before winning game six 4-1.  Not only had the Kings comeback and tied the series after being down 3-0, they came back and dominated the Sharks without mercy.  In San Jose’s own pond for game seven, the Kings completed the historical comeback by thrashing the Sharks 5-1! The Kings became only the fourth team in NHL history (and fifth team in professional sports teams’ history) to comeback from a 0-3 deficit.  After eliminating the Sharks, the Kings beat the Ducks as previously mentioned and then went on to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons, in what is now regarded as the hardest route ever taken for a team to win the Cup!

 

 So not all hope is lost fellow Kings’ fans.  These Kings have been in this situation many times before and are more than able and qualified to still comeback in this current series against the Sharks.  Sure it won’t be easy and sure it’s going to wrack havoc on all of our hearts and nerves but the Kings have never made anything easy for their fan base so really it’s just business as usual.  The LA Kings have earned the benefit of the doubt from all of us so it is too early for any of us to quit on this team.  Even “if” things continue to go south in this series, this team will not go quietly into the night in defeat as that is not their style. They will fight, they will scratch and they will claw right to the end and how can anyone bet against these warriors with their track record? They have proven that there is always a chance. So hang in there everyone and prepare for battle because this one ain’t over yet!  There’s still a lot of hockey left for the Comeback Kings to play! GO KINGS GO!!!

 

About Jeff Duarte

Born and raised in Canada and surrounded by the sport of hockey for as long as he can remember, there is nothing Jeff loves talking about more than the past, present and future of his beloved Los Angeles Kings.

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