Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme may make some changes to his lineup ahead of the team’s Game 4 Stanley Cup Final matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning. But he’s sticking with the goaltender that brought him to the dance.
“Carey’s the guy starting Monday if you are wondering who’s starting in net,” Ducharme said.
Carey Price allowed five goals on 29 shots during the team’s 6-3 loss to the Lightning on Friday. The Canadiens trail the Lightning 3-0 in their best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final series.
Price has been a driving factor for the Canadiens’ surprising post-season run. He posted a 12-5 record with a .934 save percentage during the first three rounds but has sputtered since.
On Saturday, Ducharme was asked if he might pull the trigger on a goaltending change but quickly endorsed his starter.
“You can talk about one guy or another guy (but) it’s all of us,” Ducharme said. “We need to be better in front of him.”
The Canadiens have stuck with the same 20 skaters for Games 1 through 3. Assistant coach Luke Richardson, who assumed head coaching duties as Ducharme served a 14-day quarantine after a positive COVID-19 test) cited a lack of execution from his team following Game 1.
On Friday, the Lightning dominated the Canadiens in every aspect of the game. The Lightning lit the Canadiens offensively, they effectively broke up Montreal’s chances off the rush and Tampa goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was sharp when they needed him, despite a pair of low-danger goals against.
“We may make some changes (but it’s) too early to tell,” Ducharme said. “But we’re looking at every situation right now.”
The Canadiens are in must-win territory for the remainder of the season. A loss on Monday would mark the first time a team was swept in the Cup Final since the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Washington Capitals 4-0 in the best-of-seven Final series in 1998.