Coyotes Ups and Downs: Road Warriors


The Phoenix Coyotes are rolling right now, going 7-1-2 over their past 10 games while winning their last 5 games on the road. The Coyotes now sit just 1 point behind Dallas for best in the Pacific and have taken the first 4 points on their 5-game road trip, which is about how many I was predicting they would take overall. So barring a three game skid, the Desert Dogs should be in good shape to surpass that total.

But for now, let's look back at how the Coyotes have played over the past two weeks. It's been an exciting ride as a fan and hopefully more and more fans are starting to take some notice.

Goalies Trend Notes
Jason LaBarbera
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png With Smith's stellar play, Barbs must be having flashbacks to the past few years with getting a good look at the game from the bench. He wasn't bad in his only game over the past two weeks, but got a tired squad in front of him and dropped the decision to Nashville. Although there aren't any back-to-backs coming up right away, I wouldn't be surprised to see Barbs get a start thrown in on the road trip.

Mike Smith
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Smith is showing that Tippett and Burke were right to target him in the offseason as a Bryz replacement and he'll likely get to show the former Yotes netminder what he's made of tonight in Philly. My lone concern is overwork as he's never started more than 42 games in a season.



Defensemen

Adrian Aucoin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Oakie scored his first goal of the season a few games back against Edmonton and had an assist against San Jose, so the offense is coming along a bit; but that's not his job as we've said many times. Oakie is just playing solid defensive minutes particularly on the PK.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Only two points over the past 5 games for OEL, but I've been more impressed with his physical and defensive play recently. And despite this increased physical play, only 2 PIMs over the span, so nothing to complain about here.
Rostislav Klesla
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Klesla is playing that Oakie type of game with solid defensive play, but he's had a bit rougher go of things recently, with a particularly rough game against Montreal where he was a -2 (although more unlucky than anything there).
Derek Morris
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png No points over the past 5 games for DMo, but only 2 PIMs as well despite an increase in his physical play recently. I don't know that he's worked off some rust or is just having a nice little stretch (and I'd still favor giving him an occasional day off once Roszival returns), but it's been nice to see a more confident and productive Morris on the ice recently.
Michal Rozsival
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Despite Chris Summers being sent back to Portland, Rozy is still nowhere to be seen on the ice. But at this point, why mess with what works, yes?
David Schlemko
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Still impressed with the job Schlem is doing even if his production has dropped off to nothing over the past two weeks. But I'm still impressed with the work he is doing with Klesla.
Keith Yandle http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Yandle's offense has slowed down a bit, but the ice time is still incredibly high and his overall play continues to improve, in my opinion. It helps that DMo is looking a lot better on the ice. The Coyotes aren't getting nearly as much production from their blue line and they will need that to improve as the season continues if they will be successful - look for Yandle to lead the charge soon, hopefully.



Forwards

Paul Bissonnette BizNasty continues to be just the team DJ and purveyor of Halloween costume tweets right now as he has been finding himself in the press box throughout November. Look for Biz to possibly return against the physical Flyers squad or in the return home against Anaheim next week.
Mikkel Boedker http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Absolutely love the energy, speed and skill that Boedker brings to the table and despite jumping from line-to-line he makes everyone around him play better it seems. After getting stoned on two shorthanded opportunities against Nashville, he finally broke through with a goal against Montreal and a great assist against Toronto. Hopefully it is just the kick start to what will be a very productive season for the young Dane.
Kyle Chipchura
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Since getting recalled, Chipchura hasn't made a huge impression, although I'm not sure what to expect from him overall. He has assists in the last two games and is getting about 10 minutes of ice time per game. He's a depth player and is mostly just holding down a spot until Miele is ready to come back and contribute at the big club.
Shane Doan http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Doan broke out of a 4 game mini-slump with a goal against Toronto on Tuesday and with the typically streaky play of Captain Coyote, we might get a little run going on this road trip. I like his chemistry with Boedker on his other wing and we'll see if Tippett keep them together.



Boyd Gordon http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Gordon continues to play outstanding in all aspects of the game recording another 2 goals and 2 assists over the past week while splitting time between the first and second units. Not sure that even GMDM knew how good a signing this was during the offseason.
Martin Hanzal http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Hanzal missed a few games with a minor injury, but has come right back with a few solid games. He took a frustration penalty in Toronto that allowed the Leafs to score a rare power play goal against the Coyotes and tie the game, but the 'Yotes still managed to snag two points.
Lauri Korpikoski

Last year's offensive breakout is looking far in the rearview mirror right now as Korpi has only 6 points this season and only a single point over the past five games. I still say that Korpi is getting hurt by the inconsistency of his linemates, but the 'Yotes need him to start finishing some of his chances like he was last year.

Daymond Langkow http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Langkow himself isn't hurt (as far as we know), but he did have an unknown death in the family and has missed the last few games. Here's sending our condolences to the Langkow family and hoping that Daymond is back with the team soon.
Andy Miele
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Miele was sent back down to Portland where he is putting up some impressive numbers. I think the time he spends there will be exceedingly beneficial to his overall development and I'm sure we'll see him back up before the end of the first half.
Cal O'Reilly
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png O'Reilly hasn't been with the squad too long, but he's looked pretty good on the ice despite only a single point. His ice time keeps increasing and I'm hoping he'll keep improving as we go along.
Patrick O'Sullivan http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png O'Sullivan keeps improving his game and he had another hard working goal in San Jose before scoring a nifty skills competition tally in Toronto helping to seal the win there. I'd like to see a bit more on the power play from him.
Taylor Pyatt
No points for Pyatt through the past five games which is pretty disappointing as I thought he was getting back into his groove earlier this month. As one of those role players, Pyatt needs to chip in just the occasional goal, but to do that he needs to be spending more time in front of the goalie creating havoc, which he hasn't been doing much recently.
Raffi Torres
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Raffi is on a three game point scoring streak with a goal and two assists and has been a really pleasant surprise for the Coyotes with his timely scoring and disciplined physical play. I know many weren't happy when the Coyotes signed Torres, but I've been loving his fit with this team so far.
Kyle Turris
December 1 is quickly approaching and while GMDM continues to say that Turris isn't going anywhere, I wonder if somebody might convince him to trade the petulant center in the next two weeks. If a capable sniper can come back to the Coyotes with a draft pick, I'd pull the trigger personally.
Radim Vrbata
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png He's cooled off since the previous period when he seemed to have a multi-point game every night, but Vrby is still one of the top scorers on the team and was finally able to score a shootout goal using his patented forehand-backhand move the other night in Toronto.
Ray Whitney
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Leading the team in goals and assists and was getting robbed in Toronto the other night from adding to those totals. I've got nothing left to say about how good the Wizard has been in Phoenix - is it too early to sign him to an extension?
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