1. Mike Smith
Two and two-thirds of Smitty's three games in net this week were elite by all standards. The Coyotes starter single handedly kept the squad in games against the Kings and Blackhawks, and did his best to do the same against the Devils before the floodgates opened in the third period. These are positive signs for Smith, who is set to be "the guy" between the pipes for the next few years in Arizona.
2. Race to the Bottom
Each week brings exciting new developments in the battle for the worst record in the NHL, where the prize of a shot at Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel awaits. The Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers stand tied at 50 points a piece, and a shootout win for the Buffalo Sabres boosts them to 47. Future matchups between the Yotes and Sabres will be key, to say the least.
3. OEL's quick return
After an ugly boarding penalty sent Oliver Ekman-Larsson to the dressing room, Yotes fans held their collective breath while praying for good news. As it turns out, the good news was not far away: OEL was cleared to play returned to the ice two days later.
4. 3-on-3 OT
In a conversation between NHL general managers and the league, the GMs recommended a 3-on-3 format for regular season overtime, in order to decrease the number of games that end in a shootout. The exact format would need to be determined: "We're going to look at variables and figure out which one we think makes the most sense," Commissioner Gary Bettman noted.
1. Monetary woes
After news broke that the Coyotes lost $16.6 million in the first year of new ownership, with a total more than twice that as it relates to the infamous out-clause, parts of the hockey world once again began to cry "relocation!". Here's to hoping next year's total is substantially lower, and that those naysayers will continue to have less of a reason to rear their heads.
2. Offensive impotence
Mike Smith is playing well, but the Coyotes' offense is not. That's not surprising really, given that what little firepower they possessed coming into the 2014-15 season has departed either via trade or injury. There's little reason to believe that the rest of the campaign will be much prettier, but if it ends in a McDavid or an Eichel, then this may just be the ideal offense for the Arizona Coyotes.
3. The Nashville Predators
Once atop the Western conference standings, the Preds are a dismal 2-7-1 in their last ten and have dropped behind both St. Louis and Anaheim in the points race. They'll still make the playoffs with a decent seed, but at this rate, an early exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs might be the forecast in Nashville come postseason play.
4. Sharks playoff odds
After an untimely loss to Winnipeg last night, Sharks fans watch as their shot at the eight seed in the Western conference fades further into the distance. Six points separate them and the Jets, who currently hold the eighth spot. Between them is Calgary, who is only a point out of eighth.