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Perry Reflects on His Most Memorable Moments with the Ducks

The Ducks legend made his first return to Honda Center since signing with the Stars last summer

by Adam Brady @AdamJBrady /

The numbers don't lie, but they also don't tell the whole tale. 

Corey Perry spent the first 14 years of his career with the Ducks scoring 372 goals and adding 404 assists in 988 games, ranking second in franchise history in goals, game-winning goals (64), shots (2,870) and games, third in points, assists and power-play goals (103), and fourth in power-play points (243) and plus/minus (+76).

But when we reminisce about Perry's magical time in Anaheim, it's not the numbers we'll recite off the top of our heads. It's the memorable moments that endure forever on television, on social media and the web - and certainly in our minds.  

Perry was back at Honda Center for the first time since leaving the Ducks and signing with Dallas last summer, as the Ducks played the Stars in a game he was forced to miss while serving a suspension. That didn't stop the Ducks from honoring him prior to the game in an emotional private ceremony, and then again in an electrifying moment during the first timeout of the game as fans gave him a rousing ovation. 

Earlier that day, Perry reflected on some of his most memorable moments in a Ducks sweater, admitting that he too sometimes browses online for some of his best highlights. "Sometimes I do," Perry said in his typical soft-spoken manner. "It's nice to go back and reflect on that kind of stuff, especially when you're in a little slump and you want to see what you used to do to score goals. Hopefully that can help." 

First NHL Goal - October 10, 2005 vs. Edmonton at Honda Center
Like most NHL players when it comes to their first goal, Perry remembers it well. "It was a drop pass, a point shot and I just kept going to the net," he says. "The goalie knocked it over to me, and it was a wide open net." 

Perry says he's not a savant like former teammate Teemu Selanne, who claims to remember all of his 600-plus goals. "I remember quite a few, but every single one? Probably not," he says with a chuckle. There are definitely memorable ones." 

Final Goal in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final vs. Ottawa - June 6, 2007
Perry's drilled one-timer off a Senators giveaway made the game 6-2 deep into the third period and was the moment most Ducks will tell you they finally felt they had the Cup in hand. 

"It was a turnover, and I think I had just come off the bench," Perry says. "I'm not sure why I was on the ice, but I was coming right down the slot. I just one-timed it, hammered it before anyone else could. It found a way. There were only a few minutes left, and right then it was kind of like, This is happening."

He's asked if he has ever in his life hit a puck harder than that. "Probably not," he laughs. "That was exciting. And then [Sean O'Donnell] picked me up and slammed me into the glass. OD's a big boy, so he can do that." 

Ducks Clinch the Cup in Game 5 - June 6, 2007
It will forever live on in Ducks history whenever the 2007 Cup title is brought up, that image of Perry and longtime friend and linemate Ryan Getzlaf being the first players to rush toward goalie J.S. Giguere and mob him before the rest of their teammates come pouring into the scene. 

"Once again, I don't know why I was on the ice in that moment," Perry says. "I don't think Teemu wanted to go out there because he was emotional. I remember the horn going off, and I think Getzy and I were the first ones to Jiggy and jumped on him. It was exciting. 

"You grow up as a kid dreaming of winning a Stanley Cup, and you play road hockey and pretend it's Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. To be a part of that and have a chance to win it on home ice in front of your fans … that really set up this franchise and California as well."

50th Goal of the Season vs. San Jose - April 6, 2011
Perry entered the final regular season game of the 2011 season needing three goals to reach the coveted 50 mark, a tall task despite the fact that he had scored an astounding 16 goals in the last 13 games entering the night. 

"I've got a good story about that," Perry says. "My mom was here with my aunt, and we were driving up to the rink for the game. I turned to my mom and said, 'I just don't feel it tonight. I feel tired.' And she said, 'Well, just go out and just play.' I ended up going out and getting a hat trick and getting my 50th.. It was exciting she was here for that."

The assist on that climactic goal came from Selanne, who is one of three players to score 50 goals in an Anaheim uniform (along with Perry and Paul Kariya). "It was a 5-on-3, and I remember boxing the d-man out," Perry says. "Teemu held it and got it to me, and he was always good with that. Obviously when you score 600-and-some goals, it gives the goalie a little something to think about. He held it and faked it and slid it over to me. I boxed my d-man out and just had to tap it in."

Most players will tell you the numbers don't matter to them, but Perry admits that 50 goals was special. "Yeah, 50 is a huge number. There aren't a lot of guys who have gotten to 50 goals, and there are a lot of superstars who have been in this league. I'm gonna cherish that one."

Those three goals gave him a jaw-dropping 19 in the final 14 games of the 2011 season. "I can't even describe what happened there," Perry says. "It was insane. Everything I shot went in the net. You just have confidence."

Hart Trophy Speech - June 23, 2011
Perry was surprised and clearly emotional when it was announced he won the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas. 

"I never really thought of it going into it," he recalls. "You get your hopes up, and you get crushed. But that was pretty cool. I think the show went to commercial break, and the producer came over and was like, 'Corey, your award is up next.' And I was like, 'What?' That's when it kind of clicked this thing was happening. The rest of it is history."

Perry got choked up during the speech, right around the time the television broadcast flashed to his mom crying the audience, but he says he couldn't see her. "The lights were so bright, I couldn't see anything," he says. 

The reaction was probably a surprise to those who have seen Perry for so many years as a gritty player and a constant pest on the ice. "Me on the ice is a different person," Perry says quietly. "I'm an emotional person off the ice." 

Overtime Goal in Game 5 vs. Edmonton - May 5, 2017
The so-called Comeback on Katella was capped off by Perry's pretty goal in the second overtime of that Game 5 of the Second Round vs. Edmonton at Honda Center. The Ducks had astonishingly scored three times in a span of 3:01 to tie that game at the end of regulation, but it's Perry's goal and the celebration afterward that is emblematic of that miracle.

"It's funny, I just saw that goal today on Twitter somewhere, and it was nice to remember that," Perry says. "Again, I don't know where I came from and there were three guys on the wall, so that's not usually a good situation for scoring a goal. But when you play with Ryan Getzlaf, he gets you the puck. He made a good play and hit me going to the net."

Perry displayed his trademark goal-scorer's patience in waiting out goalie Cam Talbot before slipping the puck past his left leg pad.

"It was just a lot of time, and a couple fakes," Perry says, "and I slid it by him." 

And where does that rank among the 400-plus goals (regular season and playoffs) he's scored in his Ducks career? 

"There have been a few before and after that one," Perry says, "but that's probably the biggest goal I've had for sure." 

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