Viktor Stalberg is quickly becoming Toronto’s Miller Killer.
But even the smooth-skating Swedish rookie can’t slay the Maple Leafs’ arch enemy by himself, a fact that once again was underscored Monday night in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Centre.
By beating the Sabres’ Ryan Miller at 3:41 of the second period, Stalberg became the first Leaf to score in consecutive games against Buffalo’s all-world goalie since Darcy Tucker accomplished the feat during the 2007-08 season.
On Friday, Stalberg registered his first NHL goal when he ripped a shot past Miller in the first period. In the end, the effort was all for naught as the Sabres came back to post a 5-2 victory at HSBC Arena.
Monday night, Stalberg victimized Miller yet again. No matter. The Sabres would win in the extra frame, making it nine consecutive triumphs over the Leafs.
“He’s one of the best goalies in the league,” said Stalberg, who is on his second stint with the Leafs after being called up from the Marlies Thursday. “I’m just throwing pucks at the net and seeing what happens.”
That philosophy proved to be a recipe for success Monday. When Stalberg centred a pass into Miller’s crease early in the second period, the puck glanced off the skate of Sabres defenceman Tyler Myers and slid into the net, tying the game 1-1.
Stalberg will take the goals any way he can, even if they are ugly.
“I know that every shift I take could be my last one, so I want to make the most of each and every one,” he said. “You never know how long you’ll be up here.”
With two goals in the three games since his call up, Stalberg will be here to stay if he can keep this pace up.