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Max Is Back In The Lineup

Wednesday, 05.02.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
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Max Is Back In The Lineup

May 2, 2007
by Brian Wheeler

Maxim Afinogenov will be in the Buffalo Sabres starting lineup this Friday in Game Five of the team's best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series against the New York Rangers.

Unsatisfied by the dynamic winger's performance during the post-season, head coach Lindy Ruff put Afinogenov on the sidelines for Buffalo's 2-1 loss in Game 4 in an effort to jump start his play.

Meeting with Afinogenov on Wednesday morning, Ruff explained his expectations and even showed video clips to cement his points.

"I like Max; I just really feel he's struggling and maybe a game off would be good," said Ruff. "There are areas where he needs to be better. There are areas, at the same time, that if he is, he'll help us win the game."

Averaging more than a point a game during the regular season, Afinogenov has scored in just three of eight games in which he has appeared in the playoffs. Afinogenov registered assists in Games Two and Three, and the game winner and an assist in Game Five, against the Islanders.

He is yet to record a point in Buffalo's current series against the Rangers.

In 56 regular season contests, Afinogenov scored 23 goals and recorded 61 points, while boasting a plus-19 rating.

"We've had several meetings down the stretch and there's been lots of talk of where I need to get his game to," said Ruff. "That's not an easy place."

Ruff wants Afinogenov to return to his unpredictable style that puts fear into the hearts of defenders. Shooting, setting up teammates and blocking shots, the things the winger does best when he's on his game.

"I went back to his first game back from injury," said Ruff. "That was an absolutely fabulous game. I showed him all the clips from that game today."

Despite his obvious disappointment in his spectator status on Sunday, Afinogenov is ready for Friday night.

"I feel great and nothing has changed with me," said Afinogenov. "I have confidence and I'm ready to go.

"There's nothing I can do. If I'm out, then I'm out. I just can ride the bike and prepare myself for the next game."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82