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GIVEN GREEN LIGHT, JAGR SHREDS THE MAPLE LEAFS

PITTSBURGH -- These days, Jaromir Jagr is often asked to help the Pittsburgh Penguins as much with his defense as with his offense.

It's a situation that doesn't always endear one of hockey's most gifted scorers to his defense-minded coach, Kevin Constantine.

So, allowed to open up his game against Toronto, which relies on the NHL's highest-scoring offense to cover up its defensive deficiencies, Jagr wouldn't have been much happier if Mario Lemieux rejoined the lineup.

Jagr had a shorthanded goal and three assists to extend a league-leading 13-game scoring streak, and the previously slumping Penguins beat the rusty Maple Leafs, 6-0, on Thursday night behind goalie Peter Skudra.

"Toronto is a great offensive team, and they depend on Curtis Joseph a lot," Constantine said after the Penguins ended a three-game losing streak. "They play a pretty wide-open game and that means you'll get your scoring chances."

Especially when Jagr is on his game, and Joseph -- one of the NHL's most durable goalies -- is on the bench with a groin injury.

Toronto goalie Jeff Reese, making only his second start of the season, couldn't keep up with the Penguins' reconstructed offensive lines as Jagr scored his first shorthanded goal and set up Kip Miller, Jan Hrdina and Martin Straka for goals.

Flyers converting cynics

PHILADELPHIA -- It's hard to say what Philadelphia is more famous for -- cheesesteaks or cynics.

Although the city doesn't want to admit it, the Flyers are playing the best hockey in the NHL.

They lead the Eastern Conference and have the second-best record in the league, but the Flyers' followers won't be satisfied until they beat some elite teams. So Eric Lindros, John LeClair & Co. dominated the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-2, for Philadelphia's eighth victory in 11 games.

"This is a good win for us," said LeClair, who scored his NHL-leading 28th and 29th goals. "We talked about how we wanted to beat a top team. This is definitely a tough team."

LeClair, on pace for his fourth straight 50-goal season, scored his first goals in four games. The first was vintage LeClair as the left wing sneaked behind the net and poked in a rebound to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead early in the third period.

After former Philadelphia right wing Rick Tocchet scored his 400th career goal to cut it to 3-2 with 15:51 left in the third, LeClair beat Nikolai Khabibulin on a breakaway for a 4-2 lead with 14:16 left.

Stephane scores Yelle of a goal

DENVER --Stephane Yelle called the most spectacular goal of his career, a belly flop, no-look swipe at a bouncing puck, "luck." His teammates were more liberal with their descriptions of the backbreaking score in Colorado's seventh straight victory, 6-2 over Anaheim.

"That should be the play of the year," goalie Patrick Roy said.

"That was an amazing goal," captain Joe Sakic said. "I don't know how he did it."

Yelle took a shot that hit Anaheim defenseman Frederik Olausson. The two then collided and went down near the crease with the puck pinballing between them. Yelle managed to backhand in a blind shot.

"I knew about where (the net) was," Yelle said. "It looks good when you score. If you don't score, it's no big deal. I'm happy it went in."

Peter Forsberg reached 400 career points with a goal and an assist.

Around the rinks

Scott Young scored two goals, including the game-winner with 2:12 left, as the Blues spoiled the Canucks' coaching debut of Marc Crawford, 4-2. . . . Doug Gilmour scored twice and Alexei Zhamnov scored the tying goal as the Blackhawks overcame a two-goal, third-period deficit to tie the Flames, 6-6. Calgary's Theoren Fleury scored twice and added two assists. . . . Martin Brodeur got his third shutout, turning aside 40 shots as the Devils kept the Bruins in an offensive slump, 2-0. Bobby Holik and Jason Arnott scored for the Devils. Boston has scored just two goals in its last three since beating Nashville, 8-1, on Jan. 18. . . . Gary Roberts scored with 1:42 left in overtime as the Hurricanes rallied to beat the Rangers, 3-2. Mathieu Schneider's power-play goal with 5:11 left in regulation sent the game into the extra five-minute period before Carolina won its first overtime game in 11 tries.

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