Carey Price and Ryan Miller, whose teams meet Tuesday in Montreal, know all too well just how fickle fans can be.
Both Miller of the Buffalo Sabres and Price of the Canadiens are experiencing a change in personal fortune from this time last year.
Price, a frequent target of boos in 2009-10, is making a strong case for Vezina consideration as a finalist for top goalie. The netminder is coming off the sixth shutout of the season and the 10th of his NHL career after blanking Toronto 3-0.
Several Sabres fans hit the city’s flagship sports radio station on Monday to complain about goalie Miller in the wake of a 7-6 loss to the Islanders, seemingly forgetting that he was the sole reason Buffalo made the playoffs last season.
Should the Sabres make it back to the playoffs — and they are only three points out — it will again be in large part because of Miller.
But clearly workload is an issue. Miller has played in 31 straight games heading into Montreal, as Buffalo begins a span of seven games in the next 12 days.
As happened with Jocelyn Thibault before him, veteran backup Patrick Lalime lost the faith of coach Lindy Ruff.
So, facing games on consecutive nights, according to reports early Tuesday, the Sabres are turning to young Jhonas Enroth for the game at Bell Centre.
The Swedish netminder has played six games in the NHL since last season, though none since Nov. 24. Enroth has appeared in 35 games with Portland in the AHL, with a .910 save percentage and 2.83 goals-against average.
Both clubs have forwards on a roll, though none more so than Buffalo's Drew Stafford, who notched his NHL-best fourth hat trick of the season against the Isles. Stafford has 23 goals, or one more than teammate Thomas Vanek, who earns nearly three times as much money.
Stafford also netted a hat trick three games ago.
Habs move into 5th
Montreal's Max Pacioretty, meanwhile, extended his points streak to four games in the win against Toronto and has seven points in the last six games.
David Desharnais finished with a goal and an assist and now has 11 points in 18 games for the Habs since being called up in January from the AHL.
Montreal was also buoyed on Monday by the sight of Mike Cammalleri practising with the team for the first time since suffering a Jan. 18 shoulder injury. Cammalleri is not expected back for at least a couple of games, however.
The Habs won't have defenceman Hal Gill (upper body) and have called up blueliner Brendon Nash from the AHL.
The Canadiens begin the night one point behind Boston for the Northeast Division lead, with the Bruins hosting Toronto. The Canadiens moved into fifth in the Eastern Conference after Washington lost to Phoenix.
Montreal has gotten the best of Buffalo in all but one of four low-scoring games this season, managing seven of a possible eight points.
The Sabres host Toronto on Wednesday, while on the following night, the Canadiens embark on their three-game Western Canadian swing with a match in Edmonton.