Coyotes Ups and Downs: March 23 Edition

As the Coyotes continue the push for the playoffs, certain players are stepping more to the forefront and making their presence known. The Coyotes continued their hot streak winning games in Edmonton and Vancouver to start this past week before dropping a close affair with the Blackhawks and rebounding last night against the Blues. The Coyotes are sitting in 4th in the Western Conference going into the final few weeks with only 7 games remaining on the regular season schedule. Ownership is still in the air, but the Desert Dogs continue to get it done on the ice where it matters.

As we do every Wednesday, join us after the jump for a look at who's trending up, trending down and sitting in neutral.

And here we go:

Goalies Trend Notes
Ilya Bryzgalov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png I was thinking of saying that Bryz is sitting in neutral because he is simply continuing to play the amazing hockey that we've grown accustomed to, but with his performance in games like the team played in Edmonton and against St. Louis, he has had to be at his finest and he's risen to the occasion. Another solid week for Bryz despite the tough loss against Chicago.
Jason LaBarbera http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png As we predicted, Barbs saw his first action in almost a month this past week, although the opponent was a bit of a surprise as Tippet threw him to the wolves against NHL-best Vancouver. How does Barbs respond - 46 save performance for the win. Simply an unreal game for Jason and exactly what the team needed in that situation.
Defensemen
Adrian Aucoin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png No points on the week for Oakie, but he continues to play his steady solid game, averaging over 19 minutes of ice time per game. While it would be nice to see a bit more offense, as long as he can provide shut down play in the defensive zone, that will be good enough. Oh, and congrats on 1,000 career games - quite the accomplishment!
Oliver Ekman-Larsson With Klesla and DMo returning healthy, OEL has returned to the press box again and isn't getting any game action. I'm glad he's here in case of a sudden emergency, but I wish he was getting a chance to develop in the AHL at the same time.
Ed Jovanovski http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Apparently Jovo is skating again and he certainly looked pretty good during the Aucoin celebration Sunday night - hoping he is back soon for the stretch run.
Rostislav Klesla http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Klesla is playing some big minutes (about 19/game) and making them count. He hasn't scored a point since his first game with the team and was -1 for the week, but he does a good job in his own end and has had pretty good opportunities that just aren't finding the back of the net.
Derek Morris http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png DMo just continues to play better as this season wears on. It's obvious that he makes Yandle feel comfortable on the ice, which is reason enough to keep him playing these big minutes, but he's making them count, going +2 on the week with no minus games.
Michal Rozsival http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Had an assist on the lone goal against Chicago and was +3 for the week. Not really doing anything flashy, but playing solid in his own end and joining the rush effectively.
Kurt Sauer http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Yup, still hurt.
David Schlemko http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Couple of assists for the week and a +2 rating. His ice time, however, reflects how I feel about his recent play which is that he's gotten a bit turnover prone. With Bryz and Barbs playing so well this week it didn't hurt the team, but he needs to handle the puck better and make good decisions especially in his own end to keep getting more than 15 minutes of ice time.
Keith Yandle So I praise Yands last week after his point streak and +4 game in Anaheim, and he responds by going pointless for four games and only a +1. I see how it is, Keith...so you're a minus performer on the week and I expect we'll have nicer things to say next week, ok.
Forwards
Eric Belanger http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Despite taking a few too many penalties this week, Belanger continues to be one of the hottest Coyotes players with a goal and three assists over the four games and a +3. He also continues to dominate the faceoff circle which has been a strong attribute in these Coyotes.
Paul Bissonnette http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png BizNasty played only one game this week and his stat line reads: 1:37 TOI, 2 fights, 10 PIM. However, those fights did help spark a team that looked lethargic on the ice and I did meet his dad during intermission...so let's call it neutral.
Mikkel Boedker http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Boedker is getting a bit shuffled through the lines (playing last night primarily with Doan and Belanger), but his ice time is going back up over this week. He only recorded an assist, but had a few great opportunities including a missed mini-breakaway on Halak last night that he put the shot wide after a nice deke.
Shane Doan http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Doan kept the point streak going to 7 games with a goal and assist in the game against Vancouver being the highlight. His "holding" penalty against Chicago led to the game winning goal, but Doaner is playing d-man like minutes every night and thriving. You can tell he's a man on a mission and other teams need to watch out come the post-season.
Andrew Ebbett With Hanzal still battling injury, Ebbett is getting the call more often than not (at the expense of Bissonnette or MacLean), but he's not really contributing much. He had an assist against Edmonton, but only saw 2:17 TOI against the Blues, just not getting it done really.
Vernon Fiddler http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Fiddy might be the most hated player in British Columbia after the game Friday night that saw him draw a major penalty to Alex Burrows that led to two Coyotes goals. Fiddy hasn't scored any points this week and was a -1, but his performance in Vancouver alone was heroic as was his over 8 minutes of shorthanded ice time against Edmonton the previous night.
Martin Hanzal http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png During Tippett's presser last night he said that Hanzal isn't skating yet and that's not the news I wanted to hear. With the team playing well, it's best that he gets fully healthy and not rush this, but Hanzal is a necessary element of this team and I'm just crossing my fingers he is back before the season ends.
Lauri Korpikoski http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Lauri is the guy stirring the drink right now for the Coyotes. It doesn't seem to matter who his linemates are as he moved to a line with Whitney and Vrbata last night and made them the most potent offensive line on the team. He's surpassed his career points total coming into this season with the 38 he has collected to this point. This week he simply scored a goal, had a few assists and was +4.
Brett MacLean MacLean is having trouble getting consistent ice time, although he did record over 10 minutes in Vancouver when Tippett was rolling 4 lines on a tired squad that played the night before. He shows flashes of offensive spark, but then he struggles a bit in his own end which is why he only saw 4:07 of ice time against Chicago and was a healthy scratch last night. He has the talent to play at this level, but he will need to show a bit more to earn Tippett's trust before he gets consistently solid minutes.
Taylor Pyatt http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png A non-spectacular week for Pyatt, who much like Fiddler, goes wildly unappreciated for his efforts. No points on the week and even overall, but solid play at both ends of the ice.
Lee Stempniak http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png We know that Lee can be streaky and the Desert Ninja decided that his goal in Calgary would be the start of something and scored again in both Edmonton and Vancouver. He seems to be picking the right time to heat up and despite not recording a point the last two games, he has been buzzing more and more and it's good to see him turning it up right before the postseason.
Kyle Turris Ditto comments about MacLean. In particular, last night against St. Louis, Turris was getting thrown around like a rag doll during every puck battle. He's a smaller guy, so I don't expect him to win most of these battles, but he needs to compete more and also take advantage of his size to slide into better positions and be the sniper that he is capable of being.
Radim Vrbata http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Vrby found his scoring touch over this week, scoring 2 goals and adding 4 assists while playing +3. He's still not shooting quite often enough (see his play last night on a 4-on-1 rush), but he is tied for the team lead in goals and made a nice unit with Whitney and Korpedo last night.
Ray Whitney http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Whitney is starting to shoot the puck a bit more, including a 7 shot effort against St. Louis, including a goal. His breakaway goal against Edmonton that was reviewed and determined inconclusive was a classic Whitney drive which he has been executing a lot recently with mixed results. The power play is infinitely more effective with him on the ice even if the team doesn't necessarily score. His veteran presence should be a big help heading into the postseason.
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