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Wild Wild West

Pacioretty's four-point night leads Habs past Coyotes in back-and-forth contest

by Steven Nechay @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com

GLENDALE -- At first it looked like it was going to be easy, but where would the fun have been in that?

When Max Pacioretty scored his 200th career goal just 57 seconds into the first, and Andrei Markov doubled the lead before the game was 14 minutes old, it looked like the rout might be on.

Video: MTL@ARI: Pacioretty crashes net for 200th NHL goal

But seven goals and three lead changes later, it ultimately took an overtime goal from Alex Galchenyuk to seal the deal in the desert.

"It was difficult, but I wasn't expecting us to come out of that little slump with an easy one. Maybe that makes it more special and keeps us on our toes," suggested Max Pacioretty, who led the team with two goals and two assists en route to snapping a four-game skid. "We were definitely a bit fragile going into this game, but that's only natural given [the last week]. To come back and show character made it an emotional game. That's kind of what we needed to jumpstart something. Now we've got to build off that and hope for the same performance at home [on Saturday]."

Indeed, the next step will be to string together consecutive wins for the first time since early January, but for now the Canadiens will savor the dramatic result -- at least for one night.

"It feels nice, I'm not going to lie. It wasn't a perfect game, but we got the win and that's the most important thing," admitted Galchenyuk, who potted the winner 2:13 into the extra frame. "We stuck together and didn't panic. We have great character in this locker room, and at the end of the day, we knew we had to bounce back tonight, no matter what. Whether we were winning or losing, we knew we had to find a way -- and we did."

Video: MTL@ARI: Galchenyuk rips OT winner past Smith

It was in the middle frame that the Habs got into hot water, taking three consecutive penalties which shifted momentum to the home side, and allowed the Coyotes to jump out to a 3-2 lead with back-to-back-to-back goals over a 2:21 span.

"Five-on-five we were controlling the pace and controlling the game, but then we took the penalties and got into trouble," acknowledged Jeff Petry, who set a new career best with his 25th and 26th points of the season. "But we knew if we played a disciplined game in the third things would go our way."

So that's what they did.

With a strong start only as good as a strong finish, the Habs would stay out of the box for the rest of the game, and outshoot the Coyotes 13-6 in the third to send the game into OT.

"To come back after they put up three quick ones shows a lot of fight in this group," continued Petry. "Everyone knew that we needed these points, and we found a way to do it."

WELCOME BACK, MAC

Called up a day prior to add a little toughness to the lineup, Michael McCarron came as advertised on Thursday.

Playing his first game with the Habs since January 14, the 6-foot-6 forward wasted no time making his presence felt with three hits, two shots on goal, and an assist over 11:25 of ice time.

"[Our line] brought some energy tonight. You'll see that from me every time you watch me play -- getting in on the forecheck and playing hard. I think what helped us tonight is I won a lot of draws and we started with the puck quite a bit," described McCarron, who went 64 percent in the circle. "It gave us more time with the puck on our sticks and we weren't chasing it all game."

Video: McCarron on coming back and contributing

With that kind of workload, color even the night's first star impressed.

"He had a couple of hits, he made a good play on [Markov's] goal, and he always mixes things up with some chirping to keep guys on their toes," dished Pacioretty. "It was a really strong performance by his line, as well as him individually."

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