For a guy who was washed up in 2019, Corey Perry is a heckuva player

SUNRISE — Every hockey player grows old, that’s a given. The body slows down, the skills deteriorate.

You might beat the odds to reach the NHL, you might beat the guys in the other uniform most nights, you might even beat the injuries, surgeries and rehabs that inevitably come your way.

But you don’t beat the calendar. Not over the long term.

So who wants to explain this to Corey Perry?

Three years after meeting his expiration date in Anaheim, Perry is Tampa Bay’s second-leading goal scorer through the first nine games of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

He did it again in a 2-1 Game 2 victory against Florida on Thursday night. Twelve minutes into a scoreless game, he staked out his position in front of Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and redirected a Steven Stamkos pass into the back of the net for his fourth goal of the postseason.

This isn’t natural. Not for a guy who turned 37 a few days ago. There are only two skaters still around in the NHL’s second round who are older — including Tampa Bay’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — and combined they have half as many goals as Perry.

It’s as if he has been born again in the spring of his 17th NHL season.

Even after 17 seasons, there’s still a first for everything…

Perry on getting hit with a puck during pregame warmups: pic.twitter.com/pxkNxWzfXu

— Sports by Tampa Bay Times (@TBTimes_Sports) May…

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