- Mark Stepneski, ESPNDallas.com
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The NHL announced the finalists today for the Vezina Trophy, which goes to the league's top goaltender. The finalists are Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings.
Here's the release from the NHL:
Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators are the three finalists for the 2011-12 Vezina Trophy, which is awarded “to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position,” the National Hockey League announced today.
The general managers of the 30 NHL clubs submitted ballots for the Vezina Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 20, during the 2012 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. The 2012 NHL Awards will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network in the United States and CBC in Canada.
Following are the finalists for the Vezina Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Lundqvist was the anchor of a Rangers club that posted its best regular-season record since the Stanley Cup season of 1993-94 and captured first place in the Eastern Conference. He went 39-18-5 in 62 appearances, setting a career high in wins and becoming the first goaltender in NHL history with 30-plus wins in each of his first seven seasons. He placed near the top in all major goaltending categories: third in wins, tied for third in shutouts (eight), fourth in goals-against average (1.97) and fourth in save percentage (.930). Lundqvist is in quest of his first Vezina Trophy win, following third-place finishes from 2006 through 2008.
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
Quick was exceptional in backstopping a Kings team that ranked 29th overall in offense to a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Coming off a franchise-record, 39-win season in 2010-11, the first-time NHL Trophy finalist posted a 35-21-13 record to become the first Los Angeles goaltender to post 30 wins in three consecutive seasons. Quick led all NHL goaltenders with a franchise-record 10 shutouts and also ranked among League leaders in goals-against average (second, 1.95), save percentage (fifth, .929) and victories (T-fifth, 35). He allowed one goal or shut out the opposition in 27 games and surrendered two goals or fewer 46 times.
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
Rinne was among the NHL's busiest netminders in 2011-12, leading the League in shots faced (2,153) and saves (1,987), tying for first place in appearances (73) and ranking second in starts (72) and minutes (4,168:52). He thrived under the workload, topping all goaltenders in wins (43-18-8) and posting a 2.39 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and five shutouts. He was particularly tough to beat with a lead, as the Predators posted the NHL's second-best points percentage when scoring first (.833, 35-3-4). Rinne earned his second consecutive nomination as a Vezina finalist, having finished second to Boston's Tim Thomas last year.