Halak to start in Game 5

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Montreal Canadiens will make yet another goaltending switch as they try to stave off elimination in their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series Friday night.

Jaroslav Halak, chased in Game 3 of the series, will return for Game 5 against the Capitals in Washington. He was the goaltender of record in the Canadiens' only win in the series, a 3-2 overtime victory in Game 1.

Montreal trails 3-1 in the series.

Canadiens coach Jacques Martin cited Halak's strong play after the Olympic break as the reason to go back to him after Carey Price allowed four goals on 36 shots in a 6-3 loss in Game 4.

"We had to win some big games and he came through," Martin said Friday morning.

Still, Halak seemed to crumble after Game 1 and has allowed nine goals in his past 50 shots. At one point in Game 3, he allowed three goals on four shots as the Caps cruised to a 5-1 win.

But Martin insisted Price's behavior late in Game 4, when he drew two unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties, had nothing to do with the goaltending switch. "No, not at all," Martin said.

The Canadiens will be without veteran defenseman Jaroslav Spacek, who has a viral illness. He also missed Game 4 and did not travel with the team to Washington.

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.