Canadiens switch to Jaroslav Halak in goal
The Montreal Canadiens will switch goaltenders in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).
Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau told CBC Sports that he will start Jaroslav Halak over Carey Price, who has surrendered 10 goals in three games against the Flyers.
Philadelphia leads the best-of-seven playoff series 2-1.
Price, 20, had a fantastic regular season and showed great poise between the pipes in the first round against the Boston Bruins — posting a pair of shutouts — but it's been a different story in the second round.
The rookie was pulled in favour of Halak after allowing three goals on 12 shots in Game 3.
"I made my decision and I feel strongly about it," Carbonneau said. "I spoke to certain people in the organization, but, at the end of the day, it's still my decision.
"It will be me who will be blamed, one way or the other. I have to be conscious of the consequences."
Carbonneau was reluctant to name his starter for Game 4 because it might be misconstrued as blaming Price for the fact that Montreal trails in the series.
"If I would have announced it yesterday [Tuesday], there would have been about 600 articles in the paper today saying I was right or I was wrong, or the kid is the wrong guy [and] I should have done this, done that," he said. I haven't seen that this morning, so I did my job."
"He [Carbonneau] told me to just hang in there," Price said. "I've been through a playoff series before.
"We're one game away from turning it right around. What can you do?
"The pucks have eyes. Sometimes they hit the ice and bounce straight up in the air. Sometimes, it doesn't go your way."
Meanwhile, the Flyers aren't letting any kind of goaltending controversy affect their focus and fully expect Montreal's goaltending situation to remain status quo.
Flyers forward Mike Richards was a teammate of Price's on the 2007 edition of Canada's junior team and knows that the goaltender won't be affected by any previous results.
"Confidence is such a big part of professional sports, especially hockey and particularly for goalies," said Richards, whose short-handed goal Monday night was a key contributor to that rattling.
"When we get a few bounces like we've had, I'm sure it rattled his confidence a little. But I would expect not to see the Carey Price we've seen the last couple of games — I think we'll see the Carey Price we saw in the Boston series."
"You have to look at all the factors when you make a decision like this," Carbonneau said. "My decision is a solid one.
"And the reason why I made the decision is a solid one, too. I won't have any regrets."
On the injury front, defenceman Patrice Brisebois will play for Montreal after missing two games with a leg injury.
"I feel pretty good and I'm ready to go," he said.
Biron coming up big
While goaltending has become a question mark for the Canadiens, the Flyers have to be thrilled with what they've received from Martin Biron.
Biron, 30, is playing in just his first playoffs but he's been rock-solid in facing a barrage of Montreal shots. The veteran has allowed just eight goals on 104 shots through three games for a save percentage of .923.
"He has been amazing, especially the past two games," centre Danny Briere said of his longtime teammate with Buffalo.
The Flyers will also receive a boost up front with the return of forward Mike Knuble in Game 4.
Knuble has been out with a partial tear of his left hamstring since Game 5 of Philadelphia's first-round series against the Washington Capitals. The 13-year veteran participated in an optional skate Tuesday at the Flyers suburban practice facility and declared himself fit to play on Wednesday.
"The guys are playing well," Knuble said. "You just want to come in and try not to mess up what's going on. Do something to help."
The addition of Knuble should provide the Flyers with a big boost on the power play. He scored a career-high 15 goals when the Flyers had the man advantage during the regular season — which helped them to the league's second-best percentage in the league in that department.
Flyers head coach John Stevens has said he will reinsert Knuble with his regular linemates Jeff Carter and Scottie Upshall.
"The line of Knuble, Carter and Upshall was really strong going back to the regular season and certainly through the playoffs," said Flyers coach John Stevens. "We'll do whatever we have to do to get a guy like Mike Knuble ready to come back in."
That means winger R.J. Umberger, who has scored four of the 10 Philadelphia goals in the series, will need to be moved but Stevens is unsure of exactly where.
"I haven't tried him on defence yet, but he's played just about everywhere else," Stevens said. "Back in training camp when we had him slotted on the fourth line I told him not to worry about where he was playing, just worry about playing."
With files from the Associated Press