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Rambler's Top100

17 октября 2006 года. 
Пять очков Афиногенова, второй «шат-аут» Набокова. 

Уверенно обыграв во вторник «Филадельфию» 9:1, «Буффало Сейбрс» сохранили сто-процентный показатель на старте сезона: 6 матчей – 6 побед. Не остался в стороне от разгрома «лётчиков» и форвард «Буффало» Максим Афиногенов, закончивший поединок с заброшенной шайбой и четырьмя передачами, и теперь лидирующий среди россиян с 9 очками (3+6) в шести играх, что также является пятым показателем во всем НХЛ. 

Гол Максима был признан самым красивым в матче – набрав скорость, россиянин получил передачу у своей синей линии, прошёл всю оставшуюся площадку, обыграв по ходу Дэрриана Хэтчера, исполнившего роль «телеграфного столба», и голкипера Робертом Эшем, «положил» шайбу в нижний правый от вратаря угол. 

В прошлом сезоне 2005-06 гг Афиногенов показал самую результативную игру во встрече с «Оттавой» 5 апреля, когда на его счету оказалось 4 очка (1+3). 

По сравнению с «Буффало», «Даллас Старс» оказались не в состоянии продлить свою беспроигрышную серию на старте чемпионата. Помешал этому Евгений Набоков, страж ворот «Сан Хосе Шаркс». Набоков, отразивший все 32 броска «звёзд», помог «акулам» одержать победу 2:0 и записал в свой актив уже второй «шат-аут» в сезоне. 

На последней минуте поединка, Евгений попытался забить второй гол в своей карьере, запустив шайбу от своих ворот в пустые ворота соперников, однако на ее пути встал защитник «Далласа» Сергей Зубов, перехвативший диск в центре площадки. 

Веб-сайт НХЛ.сом признал Афиногенова первой «звездой» дня, Набокова – второй.  

20 октября 2006 года. 
Sabres' third line soars into elite ranks // Associated Press


Maxim Afinogenov (61) celebrates a Sabres goal with Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy.

If their performance were a language, it would have been indecipherable.

The Buffalo Sabres' third line - center Derek Roy between wingers Thomas Vanek and Maxim Afinogenov - weren't speaking the same tongue. Their line play at times was incoherent, rife with meandering run-on sentences. Worst of all, together they often were pointless.

Then, all of a sudden, harmony.

They understood each other perfectly well in Tuesday night's 9-1 demolition of the Philadelphia Flyers. Lucid to say the least, they rolled up 11 points. They'll try to remain fluent against the Carolina Hurricanes at 8 tonight in HSBC Arena.

It's not easy for three dynamic players to come together. Afinogenov can be difficult to decipher when he has the puck. Vanek's creativity makes him hard to predict.

"You just never know what to expect with those guys," Roy said. "You've just got to go to the net and put your stick on the ice. Sometimes you'll get an easy goal."

Or two. Or three.

Roy went into Tuesday the only forward on the top three lines without a goal. Vanek had one, but his came on a power play.

Vanek-Roy-Afinogenov was so prolific against the Flyers, all three can now be found among the league leaders in various categories. They accounted for five goals and six assists on 10 shots. They were a combined plus-14.

Roy potted his first two goals, but his wingers enjoyed career nights. Afinogenov's first five-point game came on a power-play goal and four assists. Vanek had a personal-best four points on two goals and two assists - all at even-strength.

Most of their points were the product of scintillating plays that seemed to require telepathy.

"When we move the puck and all three of us skate, the chemistry is good," Vanek said. "When one of us starts doing the individual stuff, I don't think the line's clicking. But when we're on the same page we're tough to play against."

The trio was impressive at times last season but got broken up in the playoffs. Roy was switched to left wing. Vanek got benched.

They didn't skate a single shift together in the preseason. When the season began they were scattered. Afinogenov was on Daniel Briere's line. Roy still was Chris Drury's left winger. Vanek was on a line centered by Jiri Novotny.

Ruff hacked it apart during the second game and reassembled the Vanek-Roy-Afinogenov combo. Ruff said he mostly wanted to reunite Roy and Afinogenov.

"It took us a little bit to get going because we didn't play any training camp together," Roy said. "It's just different. You've got to get into a game, get a feel and figure it out.

"You have to know that [Vanek and Afinogenov] are not going to make the obvious play. They're not going to do the obvious move. They're not going to shoot on the net from a bad angle. They're going to make a nice pass, or they're going to make a fancy play, or they're going to beat the "D' wide. That's when you've got to go to the net."

Said Vanek: "All three of us are skilled and good passing players. The puck can come at any time, so you've got to be ready."

While watching Afinogenov weave the puck around a rink, it's easy to see how finding chemistry with him can be tricky. Much of the time his linemates are left with guesswork.

"The great part about Max's game is he can make plays out of nothing, and sometimes he can take great plays and turn them into nothing," Ruff said.

"It's tough at times, but I don't want, as a coach, to limit his creativity. I want to corral it at times. As a linemate, sometimes the instant you're open, if he makes one more move it sometimes can be frustrating. But there are times when he makes that one more move and it opens up the other player. There's a careful balance there."

Ruff never has hesitated to change up his lines on a whim, but if Vanek, Roy and Afinogenov can gain consistency, they could develop into the most fearsome third line in the league.

"It's great for the team," Briere said. "It forces the other team to not only key on one or two lines. They can't just key on Chris Drury's line or on Danny Briere's line anymore. It's a lot tougher to play against the Sabres when their line is going because we're dangerous when any line's on the ice

"For us to be successful there's no hiding we need these three guys going. The way they played against Philadelphia, if they get the confidence they had last year, it could be another very special season. They're a major key for our success." 

Страничка Максима Афиногенова на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


6 октября. Афиногенов принес «Сейбрс» вторую победу на старте сезоне. 

3 августа. Maxim the latest to hit it big // Buffalo News

3 августа. Афиногенов подписал трехлетний контракт с "Буффало"на $10 миллионов долларов. 

30 июля. Максим Афиногенов: Доживем до Олимпиады // "Спорт день за днем"

20 марта. Максим Афиногенов: "На Олимпиаде сыграл ниже своего уровня" // "Спорт-Экспресс"


"ЗВЁЗДЫ С ВОСТОКА" @ c 1997 года