Melbourne star Christian Petracca's career-best five-goal performance in Thursday night's loss has calls to leave him up forward.

Known as a successful midfielder who's yielded four All-Australians, two Keith 'Bluey' Truscott trophies (best and fairest) and a Norm Smith medal in a premiership-winning side, Petracca almost single-handedly willed the Demons over the line against Carlton playing in the predominantly in the forward 50.

Despite their defensive prowess, the Demons' front-half game has faced troubles across the past three seasons, with personnel and style altered throughout the course.

As a third prong in the midfield has yet to emerge alongside Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney, coach Simon Goodwin has been reluctant to make the positional switch that sees Petracca play closer to goal.

However, Alex Neal-Bullen and Tom Sparrow were entrusted with more minutes through the centre on Thursday while Kysaiah Pickett had spurts through the midfield which allowed the 28-year-old to venture up forward for a longer stint.

And with seconds to go and a chance at victory, the Demons moved out of the way for Petracca to kick the winning goal from a stoppage, which was ultimately shut down by Patrick Cripps and Nic Newman.

Despite the close loss, Goodwin was buoyed by the fact his men were able to "adjust" throughout the night and still be within reach of a victory, noting Petracca's influence was second to none.

"That was one of the pleasing things about the game. We had to adjust a lot in-game, a lot of players had to play different roles and we were trying to find an avenue to score and get back in the game," Goodwin said post-game.

"Christian was one of those guys, and he was outstanding. Clearly, he had an exceptional night and has enormous impact for us. It was really pleasing for us that we were able to put Christian in a position where it had an impact on the scoreboard for us, and he was one of the reasons for us getting back in the game.

"[Ed] Langdon played a different role at times, especially forward of the ball (instead of on the wing), and [Alex] Neal-Bullen went in [the midfield] and did a really good job. We just had to adapt on the run, and the game demanded we needed to change things up."

Petracca ended the game with five majors, 21 touches, seven tackles, four clearances and two goal assists while recording a game-high 10 score involvements.