LOS ANGELES (AP) There are goals struck so well it can be hard to see the puck until it hits the net. And then there are those like the game-winner in the Los Angeles Kings' 4-1 victory Thursday night over the Detroit Red Wings.
This puck danced , took odd bounces, trickled off the back of unsuspecting goalie Jared Coreau and then landed behind the goal line to give the Kings a 2-1 lead at 8:22 of the third period.
''When plays like that happen, it's kind of in slow motion,'' Kings forward Anze Kopitar said. ''I was right at the post seeing the puck tumble. I'm thinking, what's going to happen? Can I get a stick on it? And then it rolled down his back. And I started celebrating.''
The goal went to Kopitar, who had battled along the wall behind the Detroit net for the puck, finally flicking it out only for it to land on the roof of the net, take a slow bounce off the crossbar, fall on the back of Coreau and gently slide in for the tiebreaking tally.
''It's unfortunate,'' said Detroit coach Jeff Blashill.
Misfortune is all the Red Wings have known of late. Thursday marked their season-worst eighth consecutive defeat.
The Red Wings had tied the game 1-all just 45 seconds into the third on a power-play goal by Gustav Nyquist.
Meanwhile, the Red Wings fell to 26-33-12 on the season.
''If you watched that game tonight, you wouldn't have known that team was out of a playoff spot, because they played like they were fighting for one,'' Los Angeles coach John Stevens.
A healthy scratch the previous 13 games, LaDue fired the puck past Coreau for his third goal of the season.
''It was a tough stretch there, but the team was playing well,'' LaDue said. ''You just have to stay ready. To come out and get that win tonight was unbelievable.''
Jonathan Quick stopped 20 shots for Los Angeles.
The 6-foot-6 Coreau made 18 saves for Detroit.
Stevens had an interesting observation on Kopitar's goal, the forward's 29th of the season.
''There wasn't a lot of room out there for either team,'' Stevens said. ''Just one of those games where you have to stay with it and hopefully catch a break.
''We obviously caught a break there. It's not often you see a play like that. Maybe it helped us out that the goalie was so tall.''
The Red Wings were left to lament another opportunity lost.
''You won't get a lot of chances against a team like that,'' Henrik Zetterberg said. ''They play very solid defensively, but don't create that much.
''It's especially tough when they get goals like they did today. That second goal was a tough one.''
NOTES: LaDue was recalled from the minors Jan. 29 but hadn't been active since Feb. 13. ... It was the 200th meeting between the teams. . Kopitar was credited with an assist on LaDue's goal, giving him 51 this season to tie his career high.
Red Wings: Head down the freeway to play Anaheim on Friday.
Kings: Host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
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