Coldplay once wrote “when you try your best but don’t succeed” and we now believe they were talking about Nick Holden defending a 2 on 1. But he cannot be fixed.
The New York Rangers had all the momentum. Jesper Fast pocketed an Andrei Markov turnover past Carey Price to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the first period. Next, the Rangers failed on a couple of power-play opportunities. However, New York skated with a spark missing from the previous playoff games.
However, if there’s one thing that must be known about the 2016-17 Rangers, it’s that the defense is a disaster. Alain Vigneault refuses to plug in someone who can help (Adam Clendening) and continues to ice one of Kevin Klein or Kevin Klein Jr. (Nick Holden) despite their woeful play.
When Kevin Klein Sr. was brutally owned by Alexander Radulov to give the Canadiens a 3-0 lead on Sunday night, Nick Holden “earned” his spot back in the Rangers’ lineup. Alain Vigneault must have thought at the time, “what’s the worst that could happen?”
It did not even take a full period for that question to be answered.
The Gang Tries To Defend A 2 on 1
*cue It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Music*
After Brady Skjei got tangled up with the linesman (he messed up big-time himself) suddenly the Canadiens were sprung on a 2 on 1 break. At the time I thought hey, maybe the defenseman will take a man and allow Henrik Lundqvist a 1 on 1 opportunity.
Then I saw it was Nick Holden on defense. Then….this….happened.
In what must be the worst defensive play of the entire 2016-17 season and post-season by any defenseman on any team, Nick Holden attempted to defend a 2 on 1 by diving before a pass was even made. He took away no passing lanes, instead allowing a wide open pass in addition to the wide open shot opportunity.
Montreal opted for the pass, which set up a wide open score. Nick Holden stayed on the ice for a few more seconds, likely wondering where he went wrong. Henrik Lundqvist skated in circles angrily, his favorite hobby of the 2016-17 post-season. I would not want to be Lundqvist’s therapist when he talks about the defense in front of him.
New York finished the first period tied 1-1, so Holden’s miscue was not quite the worst thing that ever happened. But make no mistake about it. That was the worst defensive play of the post-season. Eat Arby’s.