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Perry Enjoying Playoff Success for Ducks

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

By Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- The memories of past Stanley Cup Playoffs disappointments are still fresh in Corey Perry's head.

The Anaheim Ducks forward took a lot of criticism for his scoreless Western Conference Quarterfinals series against the Detroit Red Wings in 2013, and again when he had two goals in a second round loss to the Los Angeles Kings last season.

But Perry's start to this postseason is 180 degrees from those seven-game nightmares.

"Confidence wise, you don't hear the other side of it," Perry said after practice Monday. "It doesn't weigh on you, as much as you know you say it doesn't, but it definitely does. You start to feel that pressure. That's why I'm here. I have to produce. I have to do the right things."

Perry leads the playoffs with 13 points in six games heading into Game 3 of the best-of-7 second round series at the Calgary Flames on Tuesday (9:30 p.m. ET; USA, SN, TVA Sports). Anaheim leads the series, 2-0.

Perry set the tone in each of the Game 1s for the Ducks when he twice tied a franchise single-game playoff record with four points, on two goals and two assists. He is on a four-game point streak.

Longtime linemate and Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said that Perry has learned to work through dry spells and use it like he has this season.

"I've been through his ups and downs," Getzlaf said. "I think this year, coming in off of last year and the year before, I think he really wanted to set a tone that he is the player that he is. He came in, it seems like, kind of on a mission to prove something in this playoff and it’s fun to be a part of and fun to watch."

Perry dealt with ups and downs in the regular season. He scored a hat trick in the season opener, then missed five games with the mumps and 10 games with a knee sprain. Perry didn't go more than five games without scoring after that and became a 30-goal scorer for the fifth time (he scored 29 goals in 2007-08).

"It's been different, that's for sure," Perry said. "The whole mumps situation, the injury right after. It just went up in the air. It's been a tough year but hopefully at the end of the year, it's all worth it."

Getzlaf and Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said that Perry, the Hart Trophy winner in 2011, has performed at both ends of the rink. Perry was an even-or-plus rating in 45 of 67 regular season games and is in all six playoff games.

Early in the playoffs, Boudreau acknowledged how much so-called "twins" Getzlaf and Perry have set the example.

"This year, more than any other year, they've realized that it's their team," Boudreau said. "[Getzlaf's] been the captain for a while, but there was always Teemu [Selanne] and Saku [Koivu] around. They were born leaders in the whole situation, but now that they're not there, I think they understand that, 'Hey, we've got to be the leaders. We've got to be the guys that show what we can do, and players will follow.' I've told both of them that many times this year that when they're playing their best, our players will just follow their lead."

This is Getzlaf and Perry's first playoff without Selanne, and the Ducks hope to advance past the second round for the first time since they won the Cup in 2007.

Anaheim is the fifth team since 1990 to start the playoffs with six straight wins. Three of the previous four - the 1994 New York Rangers, 1999 Dallas Stars and 2008 Pittsburgh Penguins - went to the Cup Final.

Perry isn't reading too much into the hot start, perhaps because he knows it can change quickly. His past playoffs have taught him to work through the successes and failures.

"If it's going the other way, I hear the other stories of it like I have," Perry said. "It's just going out and playing hockey and doing the right things, and good things are happening. I'm not putting any extra pressure on myself. I'm just going out and trying to help the team win, any way I can."

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