GLENDALE -- The Habs held a morning skate at Gila River Arena in preparation for Thursday's game against the Coyotes.
Following practice, head coach Michel Therrien announced a number of lineup changes for the night's contest.
Forwards Michael McCarron and Daniel Carr, who were called up from the St. John's IceCaps just a day prior, will suit up in place of David Desharnais and Brian Flynn against the Coyotes.
"[Michael and Daniel] were doing really well in the American League, and we wanted to change the chemistry on our fourth line," explained the Habs bench boss following Thursday's morning skate. "They're excited to be back in the NHL."
Indeed, McCarron could hardly hide that excitement following his first practice back with the big club after being sent down to the AHL on January 16.
"I'm excited to be back, first and foremost. I went down and played well, and earned a call-up back in the end -- I'm happy to be back. It's a great atmosphere to be here in the NHL. Now I've got to make the most of this opportunity and show what I'm all about again," acknowledged the 6-foot-6 center, who racked up seven points in his last nine games with the IceCaps. "It boosts your confidence when you go down and have some success. Maybe I have more confidence now than when I left here, so to find it again was good. I'm happy with my game, and here I am again."
Video: McCarron on returning to the lineup
On defense, Greg Pateryn will also suit up for the first time since January 31. He'll replace Nikita Nesterov on the blueline as Montreal looks to add some grit heading into the bye week.
"We expect to have a more physical lineup tonight," confirmed Therrien of the 6-foot-2, 221-pound D-man who joins the two 6-foot-plus forwards back on the ice Thursday.
- With three games to go before the bye week, the stakes will be high when the puck drops in Arizona for a Habs team which has lost four of its last five.
"It's a very big game for our team tonight. We want to play with confidence and have fun out there. We want to get back to our old ways," stressed Max Pacioretty, who enters Thursday's contest one goal shy of number 200 on his career. "Not every season is going to be perfect, and not every game during a season will be perfect, but we want to get back to the way we were going with everybody having confidence, rolling, and feeling good about themselves. We hope to play a strong game tonight, then build off of it to get some momentum heading into the break."
Video: Pacioretty on getting back on track
A strong game will have to begin with a strong start, something the Canadiens learned the hard way on Tuesday in Denver when the Avalanche opened the scoring just 30 seconds into the first.
"We've played a lot of hockey and we've started a lot of games on the right page. It just so happened that we let one in on the first shift last game, but that's not our identity. We don't look to blame anyone as to why. It's more of a lesson learned to help us get better for tonight," continued the Habs captain. "I'm very confident in this group. I think adversity is what makes teams stronger. You can look at teams that have won the Cup, and they've all faced their share of adversity throughout the years. Facing adversity with the right attitude makes us a better team, and we're looking forward to breaking through."
- Carey Price should get the start in goal in Arizona. The All-Star netminder holds a perfect 8-0-0 career record against the Coyotes, with a 0.949 save percentage and 1.49 goals against average.
- Game time is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. EST, and will be broadcast on SNE and RDS.