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Cleary celebrates birthday with goal, not pie

by Lindsey Ungar / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT — He didn’t get the Red Wings traditional pie-in-the-face for his birthday on Thursday.

Maybe it was good thing Kris Draper didn’t mess with Dan Cleary’s eyesight.

On Saturday night, Cleary scored the game-winner in a 6-4, seesaw contest against the Los Angeles Kings at Joe Louis Arena.

Last year, Draper -- then known as the Birthday Bandit for his locker room shenanigans -- got Cleary on his birthday with a shaving cream pie.

Cleary, who had been buzzing around the Kings’ net all night, took a shot from a sharp angle along the right boards. With linemate Jiri Hudler and Kings defenseman Matt Greene screening, the puck snuck inside the near post.

The trio of Cleary, Hudler and Valtteri Filppula combined for a four-point outing.

Hudler tied the game, 4-4, at 3:43 of the third period. Cleary had worked the puck behind the net, and Filppula eventually got his stick on a juicy rebound. Instead of trying to get the puck past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick again, Filppula slid the puck across the crease to Hudler for an easy tap-in.

PLAY IT AGAIN: After a four-point night against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, Pavel Datsyuk dazzled again.

Midway through the first, Tomas Holmstrom busted down the left wing looking for Datsyuk in the slot.

The pass was just a bit off, so Datsyuk moved the puck from his skate to his stick, and then backhand to forehand before snapping a shot past Quick to tie the game at 1-1.

DON’T GO TO THE BATHROOM: Blinking was outlawed at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday night.

Andreas Lilja put the Wings ahead 2-1 in the second. While fans were still cheering, Alexander Frolov tied the game at 2-2 just 31-seconds later after he out-waited Brad Stuart and netminder Ty Conklin, who both fell across the ice.

Then Greene covered the puck outside the crease for a delay-of-game penalty. This time Tomas Holmstrom had the response, getting whistled for tripping on the next shift.

The third fast-and-furious turnaround of the game ended up being the last. Mikael Samuelsson provided the Wings’ go-ahead goal early in the third, only to be erased 16-seconds later by Dustin Brown.

Brown’s goal put the Kings up 4-3 before Hudler tied it late for the Wings.

GAME NOTES: Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom had three assists on the night…  The Red Wings rank second in the league with 12 come-from-behind victories. The Sharks are first with 13 … Detroit edged out LA in face-off percentage, 57 to 43 percent. The teams entered Saturday’s game as the No. 1 (Wings) and No. 4 (Kings) ranked teams on the draw.

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