GLENDALE, Ariz. – Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone had five shots on goal against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. That was highly unusual for the second-year player.
Stone also scored in the 4-3 overtime loss to the Avalanche. Lately, that's not news.
With four goals in his past three games, Stone now has seven goals for the season, tying him with Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators for the most among NHL defensemen. Stone has accomplished the feat while putting 29 shots on goal, scoring on 24.1 percent of his shots on goal, compared to 10.3 percent for Karlsson.
Stone will try to keep it going Saturday when the Coyotes face the Anaheim Ducks at Jobing.com Arena. Phoenix trails Anaheim by three points in the Western Conference, which has eight teams with at least 32 points.
The Ducks improved to an NHL-high 35 points with a 1-0 overtime win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday in Anaheim. Ryan Getzlaf scored his fifth game-winning goal, which is tops in the League, with 5.2 seconds left in overtime to snap an 0-3-2 skid for his team.
Anaheim has beaten Phoenix twice this season, both times in Anaheim where they are 9-0-1 this season. The Coyotes are the only other team yet to lose in regulation at home (9-0-2) but are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss against Colorado at home on Thursday.
Stone expected to have a defense spot locked up after playing 40 games in 2012-13, but found himself as the odd-man out when this season began. But injuries on the blue line, most recently to Zbynek Michalek and David Schlemko, gave him a chance to rebound. Now paired with Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Stone's offensive punch leads a Coyotes defense corps that has produced 19 goals in the first 22 games.
"He didn't have a great training camp and he missed a few games early as a healthy scratch," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "But he's come back and played very well. He's got a hard shot and he uses his assets on the ice very well. He's jumped in and played with Oliver since [Michalek] went down with an injury and he's been very effective."
The Coyotes will again be without Michalek and left wing Lauri Korpikoski due to injuries.
Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller was a last-minute starter Friday when Viktor Fasth suffered a lower-body injury in warm-ups. He responded with a 31-save shutout and is expected to play Satuirday. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said Fasth wouldn't dress against Phoenix, and Frederik Andersen, who was 6-1-0 in a stint with Anaheim earlier this year, is the likely replacement.
With the Ducks playing their second game in 24 hours, Teemu Selanne will not play. Devante Smith-Pelly is expected to fill his spot in the lineup.
Here are the projected lineups for the Ducks and Coyotes:
Dustin Penner - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Emerson Etem - Nick Bonino - Devante Smith-Pelly
Kyle Palmieri - Mathieu Perreault - Andrew Cogliano
Matt Beleskey - Daniel Winnik - Tim Jackman
Mark Fistric - Hampus Lindholm
Cam Fowler - Ben Lovejoy
Bryan Allen - Luca Sbisa
Scratched: Teemu Selanne (rest), Sami Vatanen
Injured: Francois Beauchemin (upper body), Viktor Fasth (lower body), Saku Koivu (concussion), Sheldon Souray (wrist), Jakob Silfverberg (hand)
Shane Doan - Mike Ribeiro - David Moss
Tim Kennedy - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Rob Klinkhammer - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker
Kyle Chipchura - Jeff Halpern - Jordan Szwarz
Michael Stone - Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
David Rundblad - Rostislav Klesla
Scratched: Paul Bissonnette
Injured: Lauri Korpikoski (upper body), Zbynek Michalek (lower body), David Schlemko (lower body)