Maybe you already know that if you want to match a whitespace character except '\n', you could use the [^\S\n]
idiom. Where \S matches any non-white space character, \n matches the return, and then take the complement of the set gives you \s but not \n. Handy trick in situations when you want to differentiate between whitespace and \n.
my $text = 'hello
this is a multiline
$text =~ s/([^\S\n]+|\n)/$1 eq "\n" ?
print "New line\n" :
print "Whitespaces\n"; $1/gemi;
And you get -
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