ANAHEIM — The Ducks’ X-factor is a former Hart Trophy winner as the NHL’s most-valuable player, a 50-goal scorer, a Stanley Cup champion, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a player opponents love to loathe, a player teammates love, period.
Corey Perry’s play during the regular season was not what he and the Ducks expected in his 12th year in the NHL. He’s improved greatly during the playoffs, especially in sudden-death overtime, when been at the top of his game.
Perry’s OT goal in Game 4, which gave the Ducks a series-tying 3-2 victory, was his third in extra time in the playoffs. He also had the OT winners in Game 5 of the Ducks’ second-round series against the Edmonton Oilers and in Game 3 in the first round against the Calgary Flames.
He joined Mel Hill, in 1939, and Maurice Richard (1951) with three OT goals in one playoff season. Overall, Perry tied Teemu Selanne for the Ducks’ record with his eighth game-winning goal in the postseason, a bank shot off the stick of the Predators’ P.K. Subban at 10:25 of OT.
It seems the “Worm” has finally turned.
Perry – known for his ability to worm his way to the front of the net, working his way by any means necessary into the high-traffic areas – has rebounded from a regular season in which he scored only 19 goals and 53 points, his fewest since his rookie season in 2005-06.
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle has reunited Perry with center Ryan Getzlaf after playing him on a third line centered by Antoine Vermette for an extended period. Now, Perry is the Ducks’ fourth-leading scorer with 11 points in 15 playoff games, including four goals.
Perry’s role might be different going into Game 5 on Saturday.
The job is still the same, however.
“I move around all the time, and it doesn’t matter where you’re playing in the lineup, you’ve still got to go out and do the things that make you successful in this league as a player,” Perry said after the Ducks’ victory in Game 4 Thursday in…