BOSTON -- Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres will visit TD Garden on Saturday night for a Northeast Division tilt with the Boston Bruins. But the Miller who could between the pipes then may not be the goalie Bruins fans, Sabres fans and the NHL have grown accustomed to.
The 2010 Vezina Trophy winner is mired in one of the worst slumps of his career. Backup Jonas Enroth was once again in net Friday night versus the Ottawa Senators as Miller -- who has lost four of his past five games and allowed five goals in the one win during that stretch -- tries to find his game.
To his credit, Miller hasn't hid from the booing and criticism in Buffalo and has been his own hardest critic. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, the 2011 and 2009 Vezina Trophy winner, got to know Miller as his teammate at the 2010 Winter Olympics -- when Miller carried Team USA to the gold-medal game before losing a heartbreaker in overtime to Canada -- and believes his former teammate will bounce back from this tough stretch.
"I know Ryan went through some stuff like this the year before he won the Vezina so he's dealt with it before and it happens to everybody," Thomas said when asked about the current struggles of Miller, who is 5-5-0 with a 2.74 GAA and .913 save percentage. "I've had to deal with it numerous times in my career and if I was going to give him any advice -- not that he's probably asking -- whatever he did to get himself out of it the last time, learn lessons from that."
Thomas has gone through similar bumps in the road and has felt the wrath of the media and fans, even as recently as last season.
"I heard it last year and I got 'Bronxed' cheered last year towards the beginning of the season," Thomas said. "That's just a part of the game and it happens sometimes, unfortunately. Us goalies, we all wish we could be good enough every night and be perfect like everybody wants but that's not always the case and we kind of learn who your true friends are in circumstances like that."