SAN DIEGO — Whatever irksome problems might face the Mighty Ducks before the start of the regular season or a lockout, whichever happens first, getting rookie Paul Kariya into the offensive flow isn't one of them.
Kariya again showed why the Ducks are paying him $6.5 million over the next three seasons, contributing three assists in a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night at the San Diego Sports Arena.
Although it didn't show in the scoring summary, the Ducks (2-3-1) got another assist from goaltender Guy Hebert, who stopped 41 of 44 shots.
When the Ducks suffered occasional defensive lapses, as has been their method of operation in the exhibition season, Hebert kept them in the game.
Kariya's three-point game pushed his five-game exhibition total to a team-leading seven (two goals, five assists). He assisted on third-period goals by Patrik Carnback and Valeri Karpov within a 3-minute 20-second span, giving the Ducks a 4-2 lead.
"Paul Kariya and Karpov aren't flashes in the pan; they're ready to play a dominant role on our team," Duck Coach Ron Wilson said.
Unlike Tuesday, when Boston defeated the Ducks, 3-2, the Bruins skated their varsity: defenseman Ray Bourque, right wing Cam Neely and center Adam Oates.
Oates fed Bourque, standing alone in the slot, for Boston's first goal, on a power play at 14:24 of the first period. Bourque also scored a third-period goal that brought Boston to within 4-3 with less than seven minutes to play.
The Ducks led, 2-1, after the first period on goals by Tom Kurvers and Joe Sacco. Kariya and David Williams assisted on Kurvers' goal.
Boston tough guy Marc Potvin, a former King, tied the score, 2-2, 2:19 into the second period.
Rookie defenseman Nikolai Tsulygin may be headed back to Russia as the first Duck to play for the Central Red Army team, which has a joint working agreement with the Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins. Tsulygin's contract calls for him to return to Russia this season rather than play at San Diego of the International Hockey League if he fails to make the Duck roster. There also is a possibility that Tsulygin, the Ducks' second-round pick in the 1993 entry draft, could go back to Salavat Yulayev Ufa of the Russian Elite League. He had 13 points in 45 games for that team last season. . . . The Ducks play host to the Dallas Stars on Friday at The Pond of Anaheim.