Things have been rolling in Phoenix as of late. Many around the NHL are surprised, but Coyotes followers have been quietly confident. Under Dave Tippett, this team needs production from every line. The team has posted great efforts for most of the games in this young season. The most surprising aspect of the Coyotes win streak has been the stellar play of goalie Mike Smith.
The more this season progresses, the more the line combinations will gel together. Tippett is not much for constantly juggling line combinations, and has not done much juggling this season. He has tweaked a few lines, and this has resulted in shuge contributions to individual and team success. The current lines(minus Hanzal’s injury) are strong and unique.
Taylor Pyatt-Boyd Gordon-Mikkel Boedker
This is my favorite line this season. Taylor Pyatt and Boyd Gordon have been playing together for the majority of the season. These two players are the glue to the team, and Pyatt has been the glue for a couple seasons in the desert. Boyd Gordon has been a phenomenal face-off man, while providing another big body in the offensive zone. Having these two big bodies together on the same line brings the need for speed. What better player to bring speed to a line than Mikkel Boedker? Despite a lack of playing time, Boedker looks to have taken a step with his offensive confidence. The more these three players play together, the more they will be a reliable line in all situations. Boedker will be the key to this line being able to play big minutes when the team needs a goal, and not just to prevent a goal.
Shane Doan-Daymond Langkow-Lauri Korpikoski
Last year I thought that Doan and Korpikoski were the two best players down the stretch until Korpikoski suffered an injury. They provided the offensive punch to make the playoff push. This season, it was smart to put them back together with a responsible center. Daymond Langkow provides a little more offensive help to the duo than last season. All three forwards are responsible in the defensive zone. Korpikoski gives the line speed, and Doan brings the muscle and hard shot. Daymond Langkow completes the line with solid fore-checking and timely offensive production. As the season continues, this line will be counted on to be the true number one offensive line.
Radim Vrbata-Martin Hanzal-Ray Whitney
Martin Hanzal is having a break out season. He has always been a great defensive center, but this year he is starting off hot in the scoring department. Hanzal is using his size in the offensive zone. Vrbata is finding his scoring touch, being reunited with Ray Whitney. Last season this line started off hot, and was split up for the rest of the season. Whitney is playing his best hockey as a member of the Coyotes. This line has always been considered a duel threat, having the ability to shut down the opposition’s top line. The way Whitney and Hanzal have started, this line could take the title of the top line shortly.
Raffi Torres-Patrick O’Sullivan-Andy Miele
This is not your prototypical fourth line, but Torres gives the grit required for a fourth line. O’Sullivan and Miele are two offensively gifted players, and Torres should benefit greatly from being on this line. This line may not stay in tact for long because of the acquisition of Cal O’Reilly, but for now it is good to see Andy Miele get some minutes. Miele is a poor man’s Ray Whitney. If he can play solid defensively, he will find a spot on the NHL roster all season.
Topics: Andy Miele, Boyd Gordon, Cal O'Reilly, Dave Tippett, Daymond Langkow, Lauri Korpikoski, Martin Hanzal, Mikkel Boedker, Patrick O'Sullivan, Phoenix Coyotes, Radim Vrbata, Raffi Torres, Ray Whitney, Shane Doan, Taylor Pyatt