Paul Kariya and Stephan Lebeau are the Mighty Ducks' artists in residence, two players who could make pocket change at a street fair with their playful juggling and sleights of hand.
They're drawn to each other on the ice as much as off it, and their skillful playmaking led to two quick goals by Kariya on Wednesday in the first period of a 5-0 victory over the Calgary Flames as they played on a line together for the first time.
The Ducks bid good riddance to the first half of their season with a game that looked little like the first 23, recording their first shutout in more than a year and ending a five-game winless streak. It was only their seventh victory.
Guy Hebert made 29 saves for the fourth shutout of his career and the Ducks' first since they beat Vancouver, 3-0, on Feb. 4, 1994.
"I tell you, during that third period we were playing for him," Lebeau said. "We know how well he's been playing, but he didn't have the wins he deserved."
Hebert has been the victim of shoddy defense this season from a team that has left too many rebounds in front of the net. But after what Lebeau called a three-day "mini-camp" in the mountain resort town of Banff, the Ducks played physically and with discipline.
"We went to Banff for a reason, to regroup and rest," Lebeau said. "We worked hard at practice and watched video. We hope this win is going to be a big boost."
Both of the two young defensemen acquired in trades last week, David Karpa and Milos Holan, played against Calgary. Karpa recorded his first point of the season on an assist, and Duck Coach Ron Wilson praised their play, saying they added mobility to the defense.
Kariya's ninth and 10th goals of the season, both set up by Lebeau in the first period, moved him ahead of all other rookie scorers with 18 points and tied him with Edmonton's David Oliver for the goal-scoring lead.
The team hasn't lost a game all season when it led after the first period, going 3-0-1, including Wednesday's victory.
Calgary started backup goalie Andrei Trefilov instead of standout Trevor Kidd. It was only Trefilov's third appearance of the season, and the Ducks chased him at 9:24 of the second after rookie Steve Rucchin made the lead 3-0. Kidd replaced Trefilov, keeping alive his streak of appearing in every game this season.
Rucchin scored twice in the second period, and defenseman David Williams scored the other goal.
Kariya was credited with the first goal when his pass for Lebeau at the corner of the net went in off Calgary wing Sheldon Kennedy's skate. Kariya scored his second after Lebeau threaded a pass between two defenders in front of the net.
"Stephan's a great playmaker," Kariya said. "Lately I'm trying to become more of a goal-scorer. I'm more of a natural playmaker, but we don't have many goal scorers so I'm trying to do that."
The two were playing together on a line with Shaun Van Allen only because Todd Krygier was out because of a sore groin. Wilson has watched their rapport on the ice before and has used them together on the power play, but has resisted putting them on a regular line because they are both so small. At about 5-10 and 170, they are the two smallest players on the team.