Keefe backs Holl but Toronto fans have had enough
Justin Holl has been on the ice for 14 goals against through five games of the Leafs' first-round matchup with Tampa, the most by a Toronto player in a single playoff series over the past decade, but head coach Sheldon has backed the 31-year-old defenseman in the face of fans criticism.
- I sound like a broken record here, but Justin Holl's performance was concerning. And I don't think-- I don't think it's unwarranted to focus on them, all right? Again, I don't think he was the entire problem. Sheldon Keefe did mention there are other people on the ice. And yes, other people weren't that great. Again, on that first goal, the Cirelli goal, Giordano is way high.
There's no one defending in the front of the net. And it ends up being Kerfoot who has to try to fight off the two Tampa players in front. After Hagel-- Hagel makes his first couple of chances. But like, on the zone entry, so Holl misses the hit, loses his stick, and then just is slow getting back.
And then, literally, it's like as he's going back to the front of the net, the goal goes in. The second goal is 100% on Samsonov. That cannot go in. That's a back breaker. But like, that spin, I don't know. That spin, that whole takes, I don't know if that's the best course of action because it seems as if it freed up the shot as opposed to putting pressure on it.
Again, I think of the save as me. We're not talking about it at all. But that's tough. And it wasn't 100% bad. But it's just like that's the thing with Holl. It seemed like, in his tenure as a leaf, like, when he has his great games and his great stretches. But like, when he has a bad game, that's a bad game. It stands out.
And a lot of the Leafs fans, myself included, are really frustrated by it because we know he's not coming out of the lineup. He's just not. And we can scream into our blue in the face. But like, it's not going to happen. Keefe trust him. He's useful on the penalty kill. He's doing great on the penalty kill.
He's been decent this series overall. It's just this one game was brutal. And it came at the worst-- the worst time. Because it's not as if-- yeah, Tampa outplayed the Leafs. But for a long time, the game was reachable. And I think, that first goal, that first Cirelli goal against, like, at the beginning of the game, it doesn't seem that significant because the goal is the first period of the game just started.
But like, that ended up being huge for Tampa. Because if it's 1-0, at least keep that lead. Maybe add on to it. Who knows? But, man, Holl needs to be better. Both of them do-- Holl and Giordano. They need to be better.