Ducks right wing Corey Perry, top, celebrates with his teammates after… (Mark Humphrey / Associated…)
Reporting from Nashville — Vince Gill weighed in on the Ducks' Corey Perry, although he doesn't get to vote for the Hart Trophy.
The country singer expressed the opinion that Perry was soft during a music set between periods at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, even leading the crowd in a chant of "Perry is not very tough," or something to that affect.
"Oh, really," the Ducks' Teemu Selanne said, smiling, after the Anaheim's 6-3 victory over the Nashville Predators. "Whatever works for us."
Perry, booed and derided throughout the game, was humming a different tune, one that left the Predators feeling it in their achy breaky hearts. Perry's short-handed goal started a three-goal spree in the third period that left the Stanley Cup playoff series tied, 2-2.
"It's like an average game for him," Selanne said. "I'm used to seeing the magic."
Perry made the Ducks' troubles disappear. His short-handed goal ended a 3-3 tie at the start of the third period. Instead of facing elimination Friday, the Ducks reduced the series to a best of three.
"And we have two of the three in Anaheim," forward Todd Marchant said.
Perry followed up his goal with a set-up pass to Ryan Getzlaf, who scored for a 5-3 lead that allowed the Ducks to downgrade their concern from hyperventilating after a to-and-fro game.
"He's always scoring big goals for us," Getzlaf said. "We expect nothing less in the playoffs."
Even if it doesn't make the charts with Gill?
"Corey probably doesn't even know who Vince Gill is," Getzlaf said.
The victory gives Perry a chance to bone up on the singer before the Ducks' next gig in Nashville, on Sunday.
The Predators started the third period on the power play. Perry altered the situation, picking up the puck at the blue line and heading up ice with Brandon McMillan. Perry received the return pass and scooped a shot past goaltender Pekka Rinne, then gave the credit to McMillan.
"He created space and made a great move," Perry said.
Still, Coach Randy Carlyle said, "Corey's a special player and that was a special goal."
Perry's goal was the first of three scored by the Ducks in a five-minute span, capped by McMillan's slick wrist shot that put away a game that was tight and physical.
Nashville's Martin Erat, who lost four teeth in the series opener, left the game after taking a hit from Jarkko Ruutu. Carlyle said he said didn't thing the hit would warrant action by the NHL.
The Predators' Joel Ward returned the favor, getting a double-minor for knocking Jason Blake to the ice and opening a gash.
"As the series goes along, you get that hatred for each other," Marchant said. "The intensity is going up."
The Ducks were already edgy, having been scolded by Selanne after Sunday's loss.
"We weren't very happy with our effort and we had two days to think about it," Getzlaf said.
The Ducks had the first eight shots on goal, which produced two goals.
While the Predators had star power in Gill and Carrie Underwood, who also sang between periods, the Ducks' headliners had spotlight moments on the ice.
Perry had two assists. Selanne scored his fifth goal of the playoffs and Getzlaf had a goal and an assist.
"Big-time players get paid big-time dollars and they are expected to deliver in big-time situations," Carlyle said. "There is no bigger stage than the Stanley Cup playoffs."