What a night for goalie Jimmy Howard — and what a break for the Red Wings.

Howard and an improbable goal by Niklas Kronwall helped carry the Red Wings to a 3-2 shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

Yes, even a shootout victory. Tomas Tatar scored the lone goal from either team, as the Red Wings raised their shootout record to 2-7 on the season.

Howard stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout. Add a few shoving matches, another big night of saves (he had 30), and it was another strong outing for Howard, one of many he’s had lately.

“He’s been playing real strong each and every night,” coach Mike Babcock said. “He knows with our lineup right now he has to be a star and he was.”

What forced overtime, though, was one of the oddest goals you’ll ever see.

With the Red Wings (21-17-10, 52 points) on the power play and desperate to gain a tie, a shot by Kronwall caromed off the mesh behind the net of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and off Quick’s back into the net at 19 minutes 33 seconds, tying the game, 2-2.

“It was a few inches from going over the mesh,” said Kronwall, who was unsure the goal was going to count. “But at this stage of the game, where we are in the standings, we’ll take it.

“I don’t think anybody knew where it (the puck) was. The guys were like, ‘Where is it?’ Suddenly it goes off the goalie’s back. It looked fishy.”

Babcock and several other Red Wings felt the goal sort of evened out some goals against the team had earlier this season.

“We had a good break and we were rewarded for it,” Babcock said. “You get breaks against you a lot. You work over time, you get breaks.”

Kronwall’s goal, incidentally, broke an 0-for-26 drought for the Red Wings on the power play.

It was also redemption for Kronwall, who was penalized on the play which led to the Kings taking a third-period lead.

Kings forward Jeff Carter scored on a power play goal at 17 minutes 45 seconds of the third period giving the Kings (29-14-6, 64 points) a 2-1 lead.

With Kronwall off for hooking, Carter backhanded a rebound of Drew Doughty’s shot for his 18th goal.

Henrik Zetterberg and Richards (power play) traded second-period goals.

Zetterberg’s goal at 9:47 ended a Red Wings scoring drought of 152 minutes 21 seconds.