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Perry laments another Game 7 failure for Ducks

Forward whiffed on late scoring chance; Anaheim loses decisive game at home for fourth straight year

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Director of Editorial

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry didn't have the energy to move.

He collapsed into his stall in the dressing room at Honda Center and sat slumped for several minutes, his body and brain taxed to the limit by what had transpired over two hours and 34 minutes of another Game 7 failure on Wednesday.

He stared straight ahead, making no effort to remove his equipment, a cream-colored towel draped over his hands at least 20 minutes after the game.

He was trying to make sense of another home-ice disappointment.

The Ducks had lost 2-1 to the Nashville Predators, their fourth Game 7 loss in as many seasons.

Just like that, the roller-coaster ride that was Anaheim's 2015-16 season was finished.

Perry wasn't ready to get off the ride though.

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm7: Rinne stones Perry twice of tying goal

He believed fervently that there were more peaks -- and more valleys -- for him to experience with his teammates, with the men who had erased a very poor start and somehow found a way to win the Pacific Division and earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

"Playoffs are a tough thing," said Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau, who has been behind the bench for each of the four Game 7 losses, all at Honda Center. "There are 16 good teams; especially in the West, any of those 8 teams that made it were good enough to win it."

The Ducks thought they were good enough to win the Stanley Cup.

They weren't, and it hurt in a mind-numbing, soul-sapping way.

Perry was in his second season with the Ducks in 2007 when they defeated the Ottawa Senators in five games to win the Cup for the first time in their history. He was an emerging cog, linked at the hip with Ryan Getzlaf, another super sophomore.

Then, the hockey world was theirs for the taking. But it hasn't quite worked out that way in the nine seasons that have followed.

The Ducks, now with Getzlaf as captain and Perry as one of the alternate captains, reached the conference final last season against the Chicago Blackhawks, but they lost the final two games of the series, including a rout here in Game 7. It is the closest they have been to the Final since 2007.

They thought they had a legitimate chance to return this spring. Their two main rivals, the Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings, who defeated them in the second round in 2014, had already been eliminated. The Ducks were the most experienced team remaining in the West.

Until they weren't.

Until the Predators authored the latest chapter of the continuing Anaheim nightmare.

"It's too bad we couldn't get it done," Perry said.

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm7: Rinne halts Perry, Ducks late in 3rd

Perry, more than anybody, had the chances to get it done Wednesday, to at least tie it and force overtime.

"We still believed in the third period that we were going to tie it up," Boudreau said. "It just wasn't to be."

The Ducks got a goal 1:45 into the third, on the power play, from alternate captain Ryan Kesler. They had 18:15 to find the equalizer, to erase a disastrous stretch of 9:34 in the first period that saw the Predators score two goals.

Perry, who did not have a goal in the series, led the charge. He had five shots on goal in the third period, four in the final 75 seconds. His other shot attempt, with four seconds remaining, was blocked by defenseman Roman Josi, the last of 24 blocked shots for the Predators.

"I know one thing; he left it all out there today," Boudreau said of Perry. "He tried his [butt] off. It's not easy to score goals, and we would have obviously loved one in the third.

"He had five or six good chances, but he was snakebit the whole series. I mean, it was tough, but it wasn't for lack of his effort tonight."

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm7: Rinne makes stop, puck hits post in 3rd

It was the shot Perry failed to take that likely will haunt him well into the summer.

With 12:38 left in the game, defenseman Hampus Lindholm took a shot from the point that eluded goaltender Pekka Rinne but hit the post. Perry had a whack at the puck, now laying in the crease, but he missed it.

Nashville defenseman Roman Josi, from his knees, pushed the puck through Rinne's legs and out of the crease.

"I swung at it and I missed it," Perry said. "I'm not going to make excuses. That's the way it went."

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