Price to start for Canadiens in Game 4 of Cup Final despite struggles

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MONTREAL — Carey Price will start at goalie for the Montreal Canadiens against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at Bell Centre on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

The Canadiens are trying to avoid being swept in the best-of-7 series.

“Carey’s the guy playing Monday,” Montreal coach Dominique Ducharme said Saturday. “So, if people wonder who’s going to be in net, Carey’s going to be in net.”

Price has allowed 13 goals on 79 shots in the Cup Final, including five goals facing 29 shots in a 6-3 Game 3 loss Friday. He was 12-5 with a 2.02 goals-against-average and .924 save percentage in the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“I can definitely play better,” Price said after Game 3. “It’s just not good enough so far.”

Ducharme’s statement was a response to whether he was considering starting Jake Allen in place of Price, who has started each of Montreal’s 20 games this postseason.

“Yeah, you can talk about one guy or another guy, it’s about all of us,” Ducharme said. “We need to be better in front of him. Everyone, all 20 guys putting on the jersey are looking for Monday night playing their best game, that’s it.”

Ducharme did not rule out other lineup changes with Montreal needing to win four straight games against the defending Stanley Cup champions, who have yet to lose consecutive playoff games this season and last.

The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team to win the Stanley Cup after losing the first three games of a best-of-7 Final, defeating the Detroit Red Wings. 

Four teams have won a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series after losing the first three games. The Los Angeles Kings are the most recent, when they won the Western Conference First Round in 2014 against the San Jose Sharks.

“We’ve overcome adversity all season,” Price said. “Our backs are obviously against the wall, so we’ve got to start bringing our best.”

Ducharme coached Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League when it defeated Quebec by winning the last four games of a best-of-7 playoff series in 2012.

Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki also accomplished the feat with Guelph of the Ontario Hockey League against London in 2019.

“You can’t look too far ahead,” Ducharme said. “You see the mountain and it looks pretty high, but there are steps you have to go through. The first step we gave to take is we have a home game that we have to win (Monday). And those who think that we’re going to disappear just like that, we’re going to let that go. They don’t know us well. We’re going to fight to win and right now that’s the only thing we are thinking about.”

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