On his second shift with the Dallas Stars, Corey Perry found himself of the second power play unit. He wasn’t with the big boys. He was out there with the kids. Initially positioned below the net, Perry took a feed at the side of the net, calmly controlled the puck, and then fed it across the crease to Denis Gurianov for a quality scoring chance.
At 34, Perry doesn’t have all of the tools in the toolbox that made him a superstar for the Anaheim Ducks, but he still has game. That said, little of what Perry accomplished for the Ducks made him popular away from Honda Center, at least with the fans. For most, however, if you give everything that you have, and you have skills, fans can be won over.
The Ducks bought out Perry’s contract as part of an overall rebuilding process. That doesn’t mean that Perry doesn’t contribute on the ice. Looking at hockeyviz.com’s current projected isolated impact, there are positives on both sides of the ice.
Perry started the season on injured reserve following an off-ice foot injury. In some ways, that destroyed the perfect setup for tonight’s game, which could have been his one thousandth regular season NHL contest if he was healthy to begin the season.
Perry returned last week, and has since played four games, the first three of which were on the road. In game one against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Perry found himself on the fourth line, working his way back into playing shape, but also searching for a role on his new team.
By the second game, Perry settled into a role on the right wing of a line with Jamie Benn and Roope Hintz, considered to be the Stars second line. As a trio, Perry and Benn bring a physical game with above average shooting and passing. Hintz brings size along with blazing speed, and at least so far this year, a finishing touch.
There is history between Perry and Benn. Of course, they were linemates on the 2014 Canadian Olympic team that won the Gold Medal. There is also this.
Perry hit the scoresheet in the third game, scoring a goal early in the third period for a 3-1 lead. That, after two earlier assists, completed the audition, and by the time the Stars returned home for Perry’s fourth game, Stars fans were starting to view Perry as one of their own.
Against the Ducks, Perry’s line will likely see a good amount of Ryan Getzlaf, Ondrej Kase, and the left winger de jour. There should be some interesting times that allow them to get properly reacquainted.
Perry isn’t the only ex-Duck facing his old team for the first time. Andrew Cogliano went to the Stars last year in the deal that brought Devin Shore to Anaheim, but the ironman missed the chance to play against his old team last year.
The Stars and the Ducks have an interesting history. The rivalry from the old Pacific Division days may be fading, but there is still some recent playoff history, most of which has gone the Ducks way.
The Ducks are off to a fast start as a rebuilding team. The Stars season kicked off with a big splat. Both teams seem to be regressing to the mean, and the backstory for tonight’s game should make for good entertainment.