Teemu Selanne has scored a bunch of goals. Bobby Ryan did something so dastardly that he earned a two-game suspension from the league office. Any number of players has pushed, shoved and provoked following whistles.

Three games in the Western Conference quarterfinals series between the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks, though, one Anaheim player clearly has emerged as the villain in the eyes of Predators' fans. That player is Corey Perry, the NHL's leading goal scorer during the regular season and a top contender for the Hart Trophy, the league's most valuable player award.

The anger and vitriol does not exactly extend to the Predators' bench or locker room. There, in fact, he's regarded with respect and a certain admiration.

"Corey Perry — I'd love to have him on our team," coach Barry Trotz said. "He's a superstar in the league, and he's got a lot of rough edges, if you will. He doesn't mind getting involved. He's got a little bit of Bobby Clarke in him — you know, he'll use his stick.

"He walks the line every day, every game."

It was with a hit on Sergei Kostitsyn late in the second period of Nashville's 4-3 victory Sunday in Game 3 that the 25-year-old forward finally crossed the line in the minds of most Predators' supporters.

Many thought a cross-check could have — and should have — been called on the play. It was not. Instead, it was just the latest example in the series of times that referees considered his rugged style to be within the rules.

When Perry touched the puck on his first shift a third period, some in the sellout crowd of 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena let loose with a chorus of boos. The next time out. he was serenaded with "Perry is a sissy," a chant typically reserved only for the most reviled of opposing players including Chris Chelios, Mike Modano or Sean Avery.