Montreal Canadiens: Corey Perry Haunts Habs Again

Dec 7, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Corey Perry against the Montreal Canadiens. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 7, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Corey Perry against the Montreal Canadiens. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /

The Montreal Canadiens latest offseason saw an exodus of talent and leadership that has resulted in one of the poorest versions of the Habs ever taking the ice in 2021-22.

Phillip Danault and Tomas Tatar walked away as free agents and have been greatly missed this season. The team also lost Jesperi Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet and have not been able to use Shea Weber, Carey Price or Joel Edmundson due to injuries.

Another player who left was Corey Perry who was a free agent and wanted a two-year deal. The Canadiens were not willing to meet that demand for a 36 year old who played on their fourth line so he signed with the Lightning. Though Danault, Tatar and Kotkaniemi played higher up the lineup in the postseason, it has been Corey Perry who continues to haunt his former team the most.

The Canadiens have played the Tampa Bay Lightning twice this season and both times it looked like they might be able to pull out a victory over the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. Though Ondrej Palat put the final dagger into the Habs hearts in both games, it was Corey Perry who set the Lightning up for success both times.

Back on December 7th, the Canadiens were leading the Lightning 2-1 in the third period. The Bolts pulled their goal with over three minutes to play in the game and a perfect cross ice pass from Steven Stamkos to Corey Perry led to the tying goal.

Perry cut to the net to get open and made a terrific redirect to beat Jake Allen and tie the game at two. Ondrej Palat would find space in the offensive zone and score the game winning goal with 38 seconds to play in the game.

The Canadiens appeared on their way to a regulation win, but lost the game before it even went to overtime.

The two teams met again last night and it was a very similar script. The Habs were leading late in the third period and the Lightning pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker. Once again, it was Corey Perry in front of the net who sniped the game’s tying goal with less than 20 seconds to play.

The Canadiens had a chance to clear just before the goal but Nick Suzuki was playing with a broken stick. As he headed to the bench for a new one, the clearing attempt hit him in the skates and kept the puck in the Habs defensive zone. Shortly after Brayden Point sliced through the defence and just missed scoring before getting the puck out front to Perry who made no mistake. Again.

Then, Palat scored the game winning goal to ensure the final couple pages of the script remained pretty much the exact same as the December 7th contest.

Corey Perry now has seven goals on the season which is as many as Josh Anderson who leads the Canadiens in goal scoring.

Not only do the Canadiens miss Perry’s offence, but his leadership abilities would have come in extra handy in a season where Price, Weber and Edmundson are out while Danault and Tatar left as free agents.

Not offering Perry a second year on his contract looks like a big mistake now, but it is not like he was going to the difference between the Canadiens going 7-21-4 to start this season and actually competing for a playoff spot. Perry was a fan favourite during his one season in Montreal so it is actually nice to see him succeeding in Tampa Bay.

Plus, he yelled at Cedric Paquette a lot during last night’s game which most Habs fans want to do as well. He might play for a division rival, and he has come back to haunt the Habs twice, but somehow it is hard not to like Corey Perry after cheering for him for one year.

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