Coyotes Ups and Downs: The Sum is Greater than the Parts

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 06: Oliver Ekman-Larsson #23 and Adrian Aucoin #33 of the Phoenix Coyotes celebrate a goal against Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on December 6, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)


The Phoenix Coyotes had a short skid dropping a tough game in Winnipeg and getting shellacked by Philadelphia in the first period, but they've responded strong with back-to-back wins on back-to-back nights in Chicago and Nashville.

With the first of four games against Detroit looming tonight, let's see who has been bringing the pressure, who's been dropping the ball and who's just been coasting by...

Goalies Trend Notes
Jason LaBarbera
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Barbs had a pretty solid week, coming on in relief for Smith against Philly and shutting the door for 40 minutes and then picking up his second win of the season in Nashville. Over that span he stopped 43 of 45 shots and made the best save of the year, IMO.

Mike Smith
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Ok, I'm not saying Smith hasn't continued to be superb, because he has, but this was probably his worst stretch of games on the season. Tough luck, 1-0 loss in Winnipeg, a truly forgettable period against Philly and then Chicago forces him to fork over a 3-0 lead before he stones two shooters to win the shootout. He's still not making anyone long for the return of Bryz, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a bit more Barbs over the next few weeks either.



Defensemen

Adrian Aucoin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Two things about Oakie's game stood out for me over the past week: an insane 27:55 TOI in the game against Chicago (his high on the season), and his pummeling of Sergei Kostitsyn after SK took an extra whack at Barbs the other night in Nashville. Leading by example, if not on the scoresheet.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png No points for OEL over the past week, but he did score on a pretty sweet shot in the shootout against Chicago, the game winner. It wasn't quite as good as this move, however.
Rostislav Klesla
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Klesla has had a few minor dings and dents this season, but something happened towards the end of the game against Philly and he hasn't been back on the ice since. It looked like a lower body thing at the time, but I haven't heard/seen anything official from the team. Worth noting that Klesla had 4 SOG against Philly, some of the fabulous variety, but couldn't convert anything.
Derek Morris
I think Tip may finally be listening to Carl and getting ready to have DMo spend a game or two in the press box. Injuries haven't let him do it so far, but DMo's ice time the past week: 17:24, 13:46, 11:24 and 14:26. It looked like he got a bum deal on the delay of game penalty in Nashville, but he's still a team worst -7 and leads the team with 20 PIMs (tied with Torres).
Michal Rozsival
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png And I repeat: From all reports, Rozsival is starting to get better, skating with the team and could be back at any point.
David Schlemko http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Another reason that DMo is seeing less ice time is that he's been paired sometimes with Summers, while Schlemko has been seeing more ice time with Yandle. The result for Schlemmer, an assist in each of the last two games and some solid opportunities on the power play.
Chris Summers http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Haven't really seen too much of the UM graduate in his first two games of the season, but he was a +1 over that span and apart from one bad turnover, I didn't see anything to suggest that he isn't ready for a bigger role with the NHL squad.
Keith Yandle http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Yandle is starting to get hot with points in his last three games including scoring the late game-winner Tuesday night in Nashville. He's finally rid himself of the awful movember stache and his inspired post-game celebrations are now getting national attention after the win in Chicago on Versus Monday night. It's a good time to be Keith.
Forwards

Paul Bissonnette Haven't seen Biz since the bad game against Vancouver. A little surprised he wasn't in the lineup for the game against a physical Flyers squad (although without Pronger, they are not that much more physical than other teams).
Mikkel Boedker http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Boedker had a late goal on a nifty deflection against Philly and then a great 2-on-1 pass to Torres to set up the opening goal against Chicago. His ice time has been decreasing and he's been shifting lines a bit. I'd love to see what a Boedker-Turris-Doan line would accomplish.
Kyle Chipchura
Well, it wasn't Chipchura sent down with Turris returning to the lineup, but he has only played in a pair of games and has a fight and a -1 to show for his efforts. The other night he was on a line with Turris and, to be honest, I'm not sure what Tippett is trying to get out of that unit because I just don't see how those players compliment each other.
Shane Doan Blasphemous, I know, but Doan has been struggling to find consistency with his linemates. Over the past week, he's a -3 (-5 on the season), with just the single assist on Yandle's game winner in Nashville. His play looked great against Nashville in general, so hopefully he's putting another mini-skid in the past.



Boyd Gordon http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png His offense is cooling off a bit with just a single assist this past week, but Gordon continues to play shut down defense and his effort to try and kill the 5-on-3 in Nashville the other night was heroic even if they couldn't quite kill the entire thing.
Martin Hanzal http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png He's not quite having the offensive explosion of his linemates, but this is one of the most productive lines in hockey right now and Hanzal's play is essential for clearing space and creating havoc in the crease for Vrby and the Wizard to cash in.
Lauri Korpikoski http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png

Just the single assist against Nashville for Korpi on Pyatt's goal 9-seconds in, and it would be nice to see Korpi make some more regular appearances on the scoresheet during this rough month.

Daymond Langkow No points over the week after the great return back and Langkow was a -2 overall. Another guy that it really helps when he is lighting things up, but it's still hard to say what we can expect from Langkow in his return to Phoenix. I'm liking his play, but I'd like to see us try and generate more offense from Doan.
Andy Miele
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png No points for Miele in three games this week, but he still has one of the most entertaining AHL Twitter feeds.
Cal O'Reilly
As with Biz, O'Reilly hasn't seen the ice this week and with the return of Turris, it's not clear what his role is in the longterm with the Coyotes.
Patrick O'Sullivan With Summers being recalled, POS was the odd man out and was sent down to Portland to clear up a roster spot. He never really found his stride and I'll be curious to see whether he is recalled when Summers is sent back down or whether the team uses this opportunity to call up either Miele or Brett MacLean.
Taylor Pyatt
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Despite only a single goal, I think Pyatt's play is improving as he's getting back to driving to the net and trying to cause havoc (a la Hanzal). He was able to cash that in for the early goal in Nashville and we'll see if he can ride that momentum and force some bad play out of Jimmy Howard tonight.
Raffi Torres
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png A goal and an assist over the past week and I've been intrigued by his play on the line with Doan, even if it hasn't created much offense yet. He's keeping his physicality at the forefront recently and we'll see if he can keep it in check so he is not hurting the team with bad penalties.
Kyle Turris
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Absolutely no points through his first week back, but I've thought he has looked pretty solid out there. As I said above, I'd like to see him on the ice with some snipers to create some offense (as opposed to Chipchura and POS, his most common linemates). I'm sure he'd like to get off the schneid as much as we'd like to see him get going, but if he keeps playing the way he has, it's only a matter of time.
Radim Vrbata
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png One goal, two assists and a +3 over the past week; he is leading the team with 13 goals, +12 rating, and tied for the team lead with 24 points. With a career high of 27 goals, it would be insane to expect Vrby to maintain this pace and when he slows down, hopefully some of those trending down arrows will be ready to fill in the gaps. Don't forget to tune in 15 minutes early tonight on FS Arizona for the premier of the Vrbata snapshot.
Ray Whitney
http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Reversing Vrby's numbers, Whitney had 2 goals and an assist over the past week. I don't know how else to explain how great he has been. Again, though, I can't imagine that this keeps up all year, so who fills in the gaps when he inevitably goes into a slump.
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