DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Red Wings got a break, getting credit for a goal in perhaps one of the most bizarre ways in NHL history.
Niklas Kronwall's shot was deflected and bounced off the protective net out of play, caromed back over the glass, and struck goalie Jonathan Quick's back to tie the game with 26.1 seconds left in regulation.
Tomas Tatar scored in the shootout, and Jimmy Howard stopped all three shots he faced in the tiebreaker to lift Detroit to a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.
"That's embarrassing for the league," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "It doesn't matter if we would've scored it or they scored it."
Kronwall seemed to agree.
"It shouldn't have counted," he said. "But at this stage of the game where we're at in the standings, we'll take it."
The Red Wings, who lost their two previous games 1-0, are in fifth place in the Atlantic Division and are in a logjam for a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Detroit avoided getting shut out in three straight games for the first time in the regular season, and the first time since the 1945 Stanley Cup finals against Toronto.
The Kings, especially defenseman Drew Doughty tried to protest Kronwall's goal, but it wasn't reviewable because none of the officials blew a whistle to stop play when the puck hit the net.
"They just said they didn't see it," Doughty said. "It's unfortunate. We should've got two points.
"I've never seen that before, that's for sure."
Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead when Jeff Carter scored off a rebound during a power play with 2:15 left in the third period.
Quick and Howard — two of the three U.S. Olympic goalies — bumped into each other and had a heated exchange during a stoppage in play midway through the second period.
"We were just discussing what we were going to do in Sochi," Howard joked.
Howard roughed up Kings forward Kyle Clifford when he slid into the crease. Howard and Mike Richards then shoved each other and were called for roughing. Howard later skated toward his bench during a break, Quick stood in his way to say something, and the two had to be separated.