Source: USA TODAY
Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky carried the Columbus Blue Jackets on his back to the brink of a playoff berth.
Though he fell short on a tiebreaker, Bobvosky’s efforts were rewarded when he was voted a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as outstanding goaltender.
The New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and San Jose Sharks’ Antti Niemi also finished among the top three. Bobrovsky and Niemi are first-time finalists.
The winner will be announced during the Stanley Cup Final.
A closer look at the finalists:
Bobrovsky: The Blue Jackets acquired the Philadelphia Flyers backup to compete with Steve Mason for the No. 1 position. After a slow start, he played so well that the Blue Jackets traded Mason to the Flyers. He played in all but one game of a 8-0-4 stretch in February-March that moved Columbus out of last place. He also had a 1.64 goals-against average and.945 save percentage to win eight of nine games from April 9 to the end of the season. Overall, he was 21-11-6, with a 2.00 goals-against average, .932 save percentage (second best in the league) and four shutouts.
Lundqvist: He has a chance to be the first back-to-back winner since Martin Brodeur in 2007 and 2008. He went 24-16-3 with a 2.05 goals-against average and .926 save percentage, posting his eighth consecutive 20-win season, the longest current streak among active goaltenders. Lundqvist allowed two or fewer goals in 16 of his last 20 games, going 13-5-2 with a 1.77 GAA and .935 save percentage, to clinch a playoff berth. This is his fifth time as a finalist.
Niemi: He tied Lundqvist for the league lead in starts (43) and wins (24) and had more ice time than any other goaltender (2,580 minutes, 46 seconds). He ranked third in shots faced (1,220) and saves (1,127). He went 24-12-6 with a 2.16 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and four shutouts.
How USA TODAY Sports hockey staffers voted
They didn’t. General managers vote on the award, but Kevin Allen and Mike Brehm submitted their top three goaltenders to determine the first and second All-Star team.
Allen: Bobrovsky, Boston’s Tuukka Rask, Lundqvist
Brehm: Bobrovsky, Niemi, Rask