(SNH)  — Corey Perry skated into position to aid Ryan Getzlaf’s scoring attempt during a 2017 matchup.

The former NHL MVP and Anaheim Ducks firebrand intended to distract Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot from executing a save. It was a typical play, but considering Perry was involved, it became a bit more volatile.

With Talbot positioned at the top of the crease, Perry collided with the netminder skate-to-skate, contacting his stick and blocker, allowing Getzlaf’s shot to cross the goal line.

Blatant goalie interference, right?

Ex-Oilers coach Todd McLellan challenged the play, but lost the decision after a curious review by referee Kevin Pollack and the control room.

Instead of focusing on Perry’s extra-curricular activities with Talbot’s stick and blocker, Pollack concentrated on the skate-to-skate contact just outside the crease.

On video of the call, Pollack said: “My only thing: What do I say to Corey? I tell him to stay out of the blue, which he does. And I don’t think it’s a deliberate act. It’s skate-on-skate.”

Getzlaf got credit for the goal and Perry became the target of the Oilers’ fans’ growing anger.

It was nothing new to Perry, who, despite his unpopularity, became the league’s first player to qualify for five Stanley Cup finals with five different teams.

The future Hall of Famer is okay with most of his opponents rooting against him. It’s the way he competes.

Ryan Reaves: ‘I never really liked him’

Standing face-to-face with Canucks forward Brock Boeser during a post-whistle scrum on May 14, Perry attempted to taunt the Canucks forward by holding his stick up to his face, eyeing, daring, baiting his opponent to take a bad penalty. Boeser didn’t bite, but Perry likely will attempt other antics during the Stanley Cup finals versus the Florida Panthers. Perry’s opponents know what to expect.

“I never really liked him to be honest,” Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ryan Reaves told TSN in Oct. 2023. “We always seemed to run into each other.”

How long has Reaves held a grudge against the 19-year veteran?

“The first day I met (him) on the ice,” he said. “It’s just the way he runs his mouth.”

The Oilers threw Perry a career lifeline last January, offering a one-year contract after his previous deal was unceremoniously terminated by the Chicago Blackhawks. Social media rumors pointed to Perry engaging in an inappropriate relationship with the mother of rookie Connor Bedard, the first overall pick in the 2023 draft. Perry also reportedly received assistance for alcohol abuse.

While meeting with the media for the first time Jan. 22 after signing with the Oilers, Perry declined to comment on the Blackhawks’ situation.

For all his on-ice hijinks, Perry has compiled 429 career goals in 1,311 regular-season contests and continues to spark his teammates as a bottom-six forward this spring, in and out of the lineup. The 39-year-old is poised to appear in his fourth Cup final over the past five seasons.

His critics, of course, point to “Corey’s Curse.” And the Oilers find themselves down, 2-0, in the Finals against Florida.

Perry invested in Oilers’ Stanley Cup payoff

In three of the past four league finals, Perry has dressed for the losing side: the Dallas Stars (2020), Montreal Canadiens (2021) and Tampa Bay Lightning (2022). His lone Cup triumph came with the 2006-07 Ducks.

Perry’s mid-season signing was not universally welcomed by the Oilers’ faithful, some of whom undoubtedly recalled his actions against Talbot seven years earlier.

Still, Perry’s prickly playing style slowly started winning over the Oilers’ championship-hungry fan base, which hasn’t celebrated a Cup title since 1990.

Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch lauded the 2003 first-round draft pick for his leadership. Even when he found himself a healthy scratch for five consecutive playoff games after going scoreless in his first 10 postseason outings, Knoblauch said Perry remained invested.

"Even in the games he didn't play, he was still contributing to our team,” the Oilers’ coach told reporters May 30. “Great mentor for younger guys, even our older guys, just settling things down and being positive. Great having him on the team, whether he's dressed or not.”

In his first game back in the lineup for the Oilers, Perry helped the Oilers rebound from a poor start. Trailing 2-0 before registering a shot on goal during Game 4 of the Western Conference series against the Stars, Perry sparked the lineup after his driving shot created Ryan McLeod’s rebound goal. The Oilers rallied for a 5-2 victory, tying the series at two games apiece.

“It’s tough,” Perry said, as reported by Canadian Press. “I’ve played a lot of games in this league, but it’s like I said earlier when I got here, you check your ego at the door and you just plug away and you work hard off the ice. You have to be ready when your name is called. I’ll do anything to win.”

Reaves, like others, can attest to that.

Perry remained in the lineup for wins in Game 5 and 6, clinching the Oilers’ first trip to the finals since 2006. Perry’s appearance in the Cup clincher marked his 209th career playoff outing, passing Wayne Gretzky for 15th most in league history.

Perry to his many opposing critics: What’s not to like about that?

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