The Vancouver Canucks are only three games into the 2022-23 NHL season, but the alarm bells are already ringing on full blast.
The Canucks picked up their third loss in as many games on Monday, falling 6-4 to the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena. To make matters worse, Vancouver once again squandered a comfortable lead, allowing four unanswered goals in the third period.
This latest loss makes them the first team in NHL history to lose each of their first three games of the season while blowing a multi-goal lead in each contest, according to Sportsnet Stats.
The Canucks held a players-only meeting after the game, according to head coach Bruce Boudreau, who gave a blunt evaluation of his team's play so far.
"I think right now, 'mentally weak' would be a good assessment," Boudreau said. "When you're on a roll, you're waiting for good things to happen. When you're in something like this, you're waiting for something bad to happen."
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Canucks captain Bo Horvat agreed with his coach's comments.
"We can't be mentally weak, either... It feels like we're getting down on ourselves when they score one," Horvat said. "We still had the lead. It's how we bounce back the next shift. When they get another one, you get down on yourselves even more, and you can't do that in this league."
Vancouver's penalty killing has been one of the main culprits in its inability to hold a lead, with the unit operating at just 50 percent efficiency, allowing six goals on 12 opportunities. Boudreau's squad has struggled since last season when down a man, placing 30th in the league with 74.9 percent efficiency.
"There's definitely something wrong," Boudreau said about the penalty kill. "I must have the wrong guys out there, because they're scoring in the first 15 seconds all the time."
Boudreau's comments come just days after star forward J.T. Miller made headlines when he said he felt "irrelevant" after being on the ice for all eight goals allowed through the club's first two games.
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