By Ian Oland
You gotta feel for former Capital Braden Holtby.
The Vancouver Canucks got molly whopped by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. The Leafs scored five consecutive goals before Brock Boeser tallied an inconsequential PP marker late in the third period. The Leafs won 5-1 and improved to 9-2-1 while the Canucks fell to a not nice 6-9.
To be blunt, Vancouver’s defense has been atrocious this season. Players often look lost in system play and tonight was no different.
Three goals in particular pretty much summed up the Canucks evening tonight.
Here’s Wayne Simmonds wide open in front of the net on a PP.
Here’s Auston Matthews dekeing around a cone-like Canucks defender.
Here’s Matthews scoring again after JT Miller just kinda gave up after a pass up the boards by Holts.
Holtby’s body language said it all after Auston scored again. He’s like Scotty, beam me to anywhere but here.
Vancouver Canucks (2021) pic.twitter.com/jo5JwhFJkT
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) February 7, 2021
Braden Holtby has regrets pic.twitter.com/qiN5Ehuq9y
— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) February 7, 2021
Holtby's mad mad mad and he's prob gonna commit a crime later and I think we should just allow it pic.twitter.com/h4mlICxzeV
— jan (dad) (@lesbijans) February 7, 2021
“Everything looks difficult for our team,” Canucks head coach Travis Green surmised according to The Athletic’s Thomas Drance. “It’s not coming easy and maybe that is something of a mental thing.”
Vancouver has given up the most goals in the league (60). Their four goals against per game is second worst only to the Ottawa Senators (4.33 GA/GP). The sieve-y defense has caused Braden Holtby’s save percentage to crater (87.7 percent) and be below the hockey goalie Mendoza line (90%).
This meme pretty much sums up the Canucks’ defense.
the Canucks playing defense pic.twitter.com/avK7TRcNo6
— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) February 7, 2021
Over the offseason, Holtby bet on himself and signed a short-term deal with Vancouver likely to give himself a chance to recoup lost money later due to the pandemic and a poor defensive year in Washington. Instead, it appears his new team would rather play shinny than good system hockey.
I can't believe Holtby fought to get his turtles across the border for this.
— Ian McLaren (@iancmclaren) February 7, 2021
Screenshot courtesy of Sportsnet
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