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Martin mum on who will start in goal in Game 4

by Dan Rosen
MONTREAL -- No one can call Montreal coach Jacques Martin inconsistent.

In keeping with his season-long philosophy about what the public should and shouldn't know about his goaltenders, Martin will, not surprisingly, wait until Wednesday to announce who will start for the Canadiens in Game 4 against the Washington Capitals.

However, Martin does not feel it's that big of a deal -- even though Jaroslav Halak has given up seven goals on the last 27 shots he's faced and Carey Price has had only lukewarm success against the Capitals this season.

"When it comes to goaltending, I have said it all along, I feel and I'm confident that we have two goalies that can do the job and that give us an opportunity to win every night," Martin said. "We'll analyze who I feel will be the best man to go (Wednesday) night and we'll let you know that (Wednesday)."

If Martin goes back to Halak after pulling him 8:33 into the second period Monday night, it's an indication of two things: He hasn't lost any confidence in Halak even though he's struggled of late, and/or he doesn't trust Price to get the Habs back in this series.

Nobody in the Canadiens locker room wants to entertain No. 2 as being viable.

"I trust both of those guys," forward Mike Cammalleri said. "You can play each of them for half the game, I'm serious."

Both Halak and Price addressed the media after Tuesday's practice, but neither budged when asked who will be the starter.

"This is not up to me," Halak said. "This goes out of my reach and whoever plays he plays and we need to win. If I don't play, I understand. If Carey plays, he's going to get the call and I think everybody is comfortable with that, even me."

Halak was pulled after giving up three goals on four shots in a span of 7:27 early in the second period on Monday night.

Boyd Gordon scored shorthanded off his own rebound after Jaroslav Spacek bumped into Halak. Brooks Laich scored on a twirling snap shot through traffic. Eric Fehr scored on a juicy rebound Halak left after Laich's one-timer from the left circle.

He also gave up three goals in the third period in Game 2 on Saturday, then allowed the winner to Nicklas Backstrom 31 seconds into overtime.

Halak, though, wouldn't necessarily accept the blame for any of the goals.

"Even in Game No. 2, they scored three goals in the third period but it wasn't like (they were) bad goals," he said. "These type of things happen. Even (Monday), not really I could have done a lot about those goals. The second one, I never saw it coming. The first one, I got pushed in the net and the third one was a rebound. Like I said, it happens, but it was only Game No. 3. We are down 2-1, and I'm pretty sure it still could be a long series."

Three of the last seven goals Halak has allowed have come after he made the initial save, but he's not concerned about his rebound control.

"I think it's been the same all season long," Halak said. "Sometimes you are just happy to stop the puck and you can't really control all the rebounds and it doesn't go your way all the time. That's the way it is."

If Martin turns to Price, at least he knows the 22-year-old won't be coming in cold.

When Price came in to relieve Halak in the second period Monday night it was the first time he's played since March 31, when he made 25 saves in a losing effort against Carolina and was booed by the Bell Centre crowd.

Price stopped 21 of 23 shots in Game 3.

"It was good to start feeling some pucks and have some pressure put on me handling the puck," Price said. "It's a lot different when you're in a game than when you're in practice. It's good to get in there and feel that game action again."

We won't know until Wednesday morning if he'll get to do that in Game 4.

"I don't know who is going to play," Halak said. "He's probably going to decide later on (Wednesday) night."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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