BROSSARD - The Canadiens were back at the homestead [read: the Bell Sports Complex] on Monday morning, and are hoping that a high-intensity practice will translate into a solid effort when they face off against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.
The consensus in the room was that while the Habs had been able to put together some strong periods the last few games - including a record-setting 30-shot second period on Friday in Anaheim - they would have to put the pedal to the metal in all three frames if they are to reverse their fortunes and come up with a win against the Panthers.
"We have to play a full 60 minutes. We can talk all we want. We had some games where we were good in the first period, other games the second period and other games the third, but it's not enough," admitted Alex Galchenyuk. "We have to play a full 60-minute game. We played a really good second period in Anaheim. We have to build on that and execute that game for 60 minutes."
Head coach Claude Julien believes that a little adjustment between the ears might benefit his troops and help turn the tide.
"We're all tired of losing and I think that's obvious enough. We feel we're doing some things right, but we're not doing enough over 60 minutes. We have to play a complete game," confirmed the Habs' bench boss. "We have to be able to be mentally stronger to play 60 minutes of hockey, like we're capable of. We've shown some bits and pieces, but we haven't done it for 60 minutes and that's what we have to do."
Video: Claude Julien on his line changes
Julien engaged in some mixing and matching of his lines on Monday, a day after the Canadiens announced that Michael McCarron and Nikita Scherbak had been recalled from the AHL's Laval Rocket. The young forwards found themselves on a line with Galchenyuk, who was nothing if not excited by the opportunity to play with his friend.
"I follow how he's doing in Laval. He's played six games, he's had good numbers there and he's playing with confidence," praised the Milwaukee, WI native of Scherbak, who's tied for second in Laval scoring with nine points in six games. "It's good for him to be here."
As for McCarron, he too was looking forward to plying his trade alongside such a skilled duo of linemates.
"It's great, [Galchenyuk] is a special player. He always has been. It's a great opportunity for me to be able to play with him. Same with Scherby - those two guys are speaking Russian out there. I don't even know what [they're] saying," cracked the 6-foot-6 forward. "It's funny, but we're excited to get going tomorrow night.
"[Scherbak] controls the puck and he's fast. He plays a simple game, but he's going to pull flashy moves here and there - he knows when to do it now. I'm happy for him. I was lucky enough to play with him in Laval and we were able to have some chemistry. Hopefully we can bring that up here."
Video: Michael McCarron on his style of play
Julien also made changes at the top, moving speedy winger Paul Byron up to play alongside Jonathan Drouin and Artturi Lehkonen, and Drouin had only compliments for the new addition to his trio.
"[Byron] has always been like that. I've played against him before, he's got speed, he's always first on the puck. If something happens, Paul is always around. We'll have to use his speed to our advantage," Drouin said of Byron, who has scored a goal in each of his last two games. "Same thing for me - we want to play an up-tempo game, generate offense on turnovers, things like that. It's the same thing with Lehky, he's a good player to round it out."
Max Pacioretty will be picking up where he left off mid-game against Anaheim in that he'll be featured on a line with Phillip Danault and Andrew Shaw. The captain believes the changes might've been just what the doctor ordered to help jumpstart him and his teammates.
"I felt very comfortable playing with those two. It made me believe the chemistry thing, that spark was needed," Pacioretty confided. "I love playing with Phil and Shawzy, they have great energy. All three of us worked very hard in that game and we created a lot."
Video: Pacioretty on coming home
The Habs were unanimous in feeling that coming back to the Bell Centre and playing in front of the home crowd would work wonders on their confidence and help them come up with a win.
"We're playing our third game at home. We obviously enjoy playing here. A lot of us individuals have had a lot more success at home," Pacioretty described. "Not to say that we're homers, but it's nice to get home and see the family, have two days to get the body ready for this one. It's always the best place to play."
As for the tough string they've been enduring the last few weeks, Shaw believes there is enough experience and resilience in the room to overcome it. On Monday, he certainly sounded confident that his team would do just that.
"We've all been through a lot through our hockey careers. Staying positive together is the easiest way to do so. Some start to get down on themselves and it can get contagious. But we're all pretty positive and vocal," he concluded. "We just need to go out there and compete for a full 60."
Video: Andrew Shaw on his line