Ducks right wing Corey Perry reacts after scoring his third goal of the night… (Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire )
Ducks right wing Corey Perry didn't expect to be the NHL's only 50-goal scorer this season or to finish third in scoring with 98 points.
"You don't ever think coming into the season that you're going to have a season like I just went through. It was a fun year, and everything had to fall into place for it to be like that," he said Thursday.
"I've got to give a lot of credit to my teammates and my linemates. They helped me get where I was."
Perry, a catalyst in the Ducks' surge to fourth in the West, was identified Thursday as a finalist for the Hart trophy, given to the league's most valuable player.
Perry, Vancouver left wing Daniel Sedin and Tampa Bay right wing Martin St. Louis were the top three finishers in balloting by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Assn. The winner will be announced June 22 at the NHL awards show in Las Vegas.
Sedin is trying to emulate his identical twin, Henrik, who won the scoring and MVP titles last season. St. Louis, the 2004 Hart winner, helped the Lightning reach the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Perry shared the league lead with 11 game-winning goals, tied for fifth with 14 power-play goals and, with penalty killing added to his duties, scored four shorthanded goals. He scored a league-high 21 third-period goals, and 25 of his goals tied the score or put the Ducks ahead.
Perry can become only the second player from the Kings or Ducks to be chosen MVP, following the Kings' Wayne Gretzky in 1989. Ducks wingers Paul Kariya (1997) and Teemu Selanne (1998) were finalists. Two Kings were finalists: goaltender Rogie Vachon in 1975 and 1977, and center Marcel Dionne from 1979 through 1981.
"To go up there and have the ability to win it is definitely exciting. Just to be put in that category is exciting," Perry said. "I haven't really thought about if it would actually happen yet. That's going to take a little time to sink in."