1. Captain Coyote
It always seems to take a while for Shane Doan to get going, but the Coyotes' captain couldn't have picked a better time to start producing for real. With two goals and an assist on Sunday night in Washington, Doan led his team in every sense to a much needed road victory at the end of what had been a difficult road trip.
2. Youth movement 2.0
Tobias Rieder was one of the heroes during Sunday's game against the Capitals, providing confident play alongside Doan and Antoine Vermette and even notching his first NHL goal, one that would become the game-winner. Justin Hodgman's first stint in the NHL recently came to an end, but Yotes fans can expect to see him again over the course of the current campaign. Brandon Gormley returned to the lineup last night at Gila River Arena. Slowly but surely, the Coyotes are beginning to incorporate their young talent. Will it pay dividends in the long run? That remains to be seen.
3. Power Play Pups
With Oliver-Ekman Larsson and Keith Yandle co-quarterbacking this unit, the Coyotes have been incredible with a man advantage. Puck movement is swift and shots are plentiful. They are currently tied for fourth in the entire league with a 25.6 percent conversion rate.
4. Weekly dose of Datsyuk (and some Justin Abdelkader)
I might just start making this a weekly tribute:
5. Connor McDavid
The kid's 17 years old, and has played 13 games so far this season for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League. He's got 13 goals in those 13 games, and 25 assists to boot. That's 38 points in 13 games for the hockey world's hottest draft prospect. He'll serve as a silver lining for all those with a seriously cynical view of this year's Yotes squad.
Giving up an abysmal 3.73 goals per game going into last night's bout with Toronto, the Coyotes rank dead last in the category. Oliver Ekman-Larsson continues to make uncharacteristic mistakes (when do they just become 'characteristic'?) and the bottom pairings still haven't been solidified due to inconsistent play. Brandon Gormley certainly has been given a golden opportunity to prove he can stick around.
2. Mike Smith's luck
The Coyotes' top goaltender has strung together three solid starts after an abysmal start to the season, giving up a total of only seven goals to the Panthers, Hurricanes and Maple Leafs combined. Unfortunately, only last night's start resulted in a win, due to less-than-stellar goal support during the East Coast road trip. Devan Dubnyk, on the other hand, gave up five goals to the Captials alone on Sunday and came away with a victory.
3. Penalty Kill Pups
In contrast to the great power play numbers, the Coyotes 74.3% kill percentage puts them at 27th in the league. Recent franchise success stemmed largely from a solid PK unit, and this year's team needs to improve dramatically in that area if consistency is to come.
4. Ducks' goalie health
After backup goaltender John Gibson was sidelined with a groin injury in addition to starter Frederik Andersen already being hurt, team goaltending consultant Dwayne Roloson was forced to step in as the backup to former Coyote Jason LaBarbera, who became the starter.
5. Jonas Hiller's balance
Take a look as Jonas Hiller of the Calgary Flames hits the slip'n'slide.
Got suggestions for next week's edition? Tweet them to me @joeyversen.