1. Mike Smith
A week ago, Coyotes' top goaltender certainly wasn't playing poorly, especially compared to a dismal start to the season. However Smith's performance in net has become even more consistent, earning him convincing wins against both the Maple Leafs and Ducks as well as a near shutout against the Islanders, which unfortunately ended in a 1-0 regulation loss. Bottom line: Yotes fans are pleased to see this version of Smitty.
2. Martin Erat
This guy deserves another nod for how well he has been playing this season, and notably this past week. He's contributing on the score sheet (goal and an assist on the week) while playing top six minutes in an exciting turnaround after a dull 2013-14 campaign.
3. Shootout duo
Sam Gagner and Mikkel Boedker each scored on their respective shootout attempts last Friday night in Anaheim, stealing the extra point from the division leading Ducks. While both moves were nasty, here's a peek at Gagner's:
4. Tarasenko taking no prisoners
22-year-old Russian Vladimir Tarasenko has been a highlight machine recently, but let's not forget to highlight that he's scored the sixth most goals in the league thus far in addition to the ninth most points. An emerging deadly scoring threat on an already stacked St. Louis Blues team is an intimidating thought for all opponents.
5. Howling at the Moon podcast
After a brief hiatus, the FFH team's weekly podcast returned this week. If you haven't already, check out what our guys had to say about a variety of topics ranging from NHL jersey ads to the Coyotes' recent call-ups.
1. Man advantage Yotes
A unit that was just recently near the top of the league in efficiency struggled during Sunday's game against the New York Islanders in Gila River Arena. The Coyotes went 0-for-5 on the night, and failed to convert in the waning moments of the game with a 6-on-4 advantage. When the offense is as lackluster as it has been 5-on-5, Arizona needs their power play to be firing on all cylinders.
2. Tough turnaround
Even the venerable Coach Tippett acknowledged after Sunday's loss to New York that the previous evening's duel with Anaheim and its subsequent late trip home took its toll on the squad. Excuses never change anything, but the Yotes certainly weren't aided by a tough back-to-back against two teams playing excellent hockey.
3. Ducks team health
As noted in yesterday's TWIPD feature, the Anaheim Ducks lost yet another player to what is now being called a "viral infection." Both Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin are being kept away from teammates as the illness is indeed contagious. The Ducks were 0-0-3 last week but still sit atop the Pacific standings.
4. Connor McDavid's hand
The top prospect for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft reportedly injured his hand during a game against the Mississaugua Steelheads yesterday during a fight. He was set to undergo X-rays at a local hospital.