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KARIYA, SELANNE WORK THEIR MAGIC

It's not simple. It's not effortless. It only looks that way when Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne work their offensive magic like they have the last two weeks.

Kariya and Selanne each scored twice and had two assists Monday in the Anaheim Mighty Ducks' 4-2 victory against the overmatched Boston Bruins at the FleetCenter.

Ho-hum. So what else is new?

At the moment, there is no hotter one-two punch in the NHL than Kariya and Selanne.

Kariya has a six-game goal streak and Selanne a five-game streak, the longest by teammates since Josef Beranek and Eric Lindros had six-game streaks for the Philadelphia Flyers in October 1993.

"I'll jump on their backs any time," goalie Guy Hebert said of his scalding teammates.

If this keeps up, the Ducks will no longer be a struggling team. They will once again be among the top teams in the NHL's Western Conference.

Monday's victory was the 10th-place Ducks' second in a row on a four-game trip. Kariya had two goals and Selanne one in a 7-1 rout Saturday of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It's the Ducks' first winning streak since they won four in a row in December. They are 5-11-2 since the streak ended Dec. 22, however.

The Ducks will look to continue their winning ways tonight (7, Empire, 104.1) when they battle the Sabres at Marine Midland Arena.

Desperation has played a role in the team's turnaround. A conversation between Kariya, Selanne and coach Craig Hartsburg a few weeks ago also helped.

"We've been playing good two-way hockey all year," Kariya said. "Maybe there was some miscommunication with Craig. He sat us down and told us, 'You guys have a little more (offensive freedom). Make some plays out there.' "

That was all Kariya and Selanne needed to hear. They've been shredding opponents since the meeting, which Kariya said took place, "a couple of weeks ago."

Kariya has 10 goals and five assists during his streak and Selanne has six goals and five assists during his. Kariya and Selanne have scored 16 of the Ducks' last 22 goals.

"Craig gave us a little more (freedom) and we've tried to open it up a little bit," Selanne said.

Center Steve Rucchin's return from an 11-game absence because of a staph infection in his left ankle hasn't hurt the all-star wingers either. Rucchin had an assist Monday, giving him a four-game assist streak since rejoining the lineup.

But this was not merely a two-man effort.

Hebert made 20 saves, giving up a first-period goal to Joe Thornton and a third-period score to Anson Carter.

Defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky had two assists, giving him one goal and seven assists during a season-best five-game points streak. Tverdovsky has 27 points this season, topping his 1998-99 total of 25.

"Their best players played better than our best players," Boston coach Pat Burns said.

Coyotes dodge a bullet, get a win

PHOENIX -- What looked like a game-tying goal for the Detroit Red Wings became a painful loss moments later.

Nicklas Lidstrom scored past Phoenix's Sean Burke with 4:20 to play but Tomas Holmstrom was called for interfering with Burke. The goal was disallowed and the Coyotes went on to a 5-3 victory.

"I didn't touch him, so I think it's a bad call," Holmstrom said.

Teppo Numminen put Phoenix ahead less than five minutes earlier, extending the Coyotes' home-winning streak to five. Travis Green scored into an empty net with 13 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

"We had a good meeting yesterday morning on protecting leads in the third period," coach Bob Francis said. "I think we were losing a little bit of our aggressive frame of mind. Sometimes when the game is on the line you tend to make a play but then you think it's over once it's done."

Around the rinks

Radek Dvorak scored a career-high three goals, the last two on breakaways, in the Rangers' 5-1 win over the Predators. . . . Jaromir Jagr scored his NHL-leading 36th goal with 8:42 left in the third period, then set up Robert Lang for the game-winner in overtime as the Penguins edged the Thrashers, 2-1. . . . Guy Carbonneau scored with 6:44 left and Ed Belfour made 20 saves as the Stars topped the Oilers, 2-1. . . . Luc Robitaille had two goals and an assist and former Islanders player Ziggy Palffy tied a career high with three assists as the Kings downed the Islanders, 5-2. . . . Devils coach Robbie Ftorek was suspended for one game and fined $10,000 by the NHL on Monday for throwing part of the team's bench onto the ice in Detroit. "The actions of Mr. Ftorek are unacceptable," said Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive vice president and director of hockey operations. "All coaches must meet a standard of decorum, and any coach who demeans the game is accountable for his actions."

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