A year after helping the Vancouver Canucks reach Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, one would think Roberto Luongo would be given unconditional support from fans early in the season, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
As Henrik Lundqvist backstopped the New York Rangers to a 4-0 shutout victory over the Canucks on Tuesday, his counterpart at the other end of the ice was hearing it from the hometown fans.
"They're not happy with my play, as well as I am not," said Luongo. "So I guess they're entitled to that. That's totally fine, I understand that. It's up to me to pick up my game and make some saves."
After two periods, the Rangers and Canucks had held each other off the score sheet, but four third period goals changed the direction of the game and the perception of the fans at Rogers Arena.
On one particular play, fans cheered when Luongo made a routine play on a puck that was dumped in the zone.
"I didn't like the way the fans were jeering him last night," stated forward Ryan Kesler. "That's unfair for him, he's one of the best in the game and we know the type of goalie he can be. I thought he played well last night; we just had a couple breakdowns in front of him. They have to get through five guys before they get to him, so we take full responsibility too."
Some of the reaction from the fans may be the cumulative affect of Luongo's poor performance in last year's Stanley Cup Final.
"This is a team game and if you look at last night I think we played one of our better games, but we didn't finish, we didn't score," explained head coach Alain Vigneault.
"We didn't get a goal for Louie yesterday," he admitted. "Everybody has their responsibilities, coaches and players, and everybody is trying to do their best."
Finding the back of the net was an issue at times in the Final a year ago and it was once again on display in Tuesday night's loss to the Rangers.
"I think people love pointing the finger in this town when things aren't going well, but that's part of the business," explained defenceman Kevin Bieksa. "Everyone is going to get blamed for losses, and unfortunately Louie takes more heat than anyone.
"He knows his value in this room and he knows we have a lot of confidence in him, so we all have to play better in front of him."
The Canucks are 2-3-1 on the year and despite appearing in four of their six contests, Luongo has only one win so far.
"As far as I'm concerned I've got to focus on doing my job and that's the only thing I can worry about," said Luongo. "Unfortunately it seems like we're in this position every year at this time of year and it's up to me to make sure I get out of it as quick as possible."
- With files from TSN's Farhan Lalji