Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Trophy Tracker: Vezina Trophy
By Pierre LeBrun
Just inscribe Henrik Lundqvist's name on the Vezina Trophy now. He’s a lock. A look at the candidates for top goaltender in the NHL at this point of the season:
Leads the league with a ridiculous .941 save percentage and quite frankly merits serious Hart Trophy consideration as NHL MVP. He’s looking at his first-ever Vezina Trophy victory. And if that’s the case, that will make it five different winners in five years for the award.
After a slow start by his lofty standards, last season’s Vezina runner-up has been lights-out in the second half of the season. And, he has faced the second-most shots in the league, 1,550 as of Wednesday morning.
Third in the NHL in both goals-against average (1.91) and save percentage (.934), recognition of Quick’s tremendous ability is long overdue. The Kings are last in the NHL in goals per game. Where would they be without Quick?
His play has dipped just a bit of late, having allowed three or more goals in eight of his past 12 games, although his teammates share some of the blame. Still, another rock-solid season by Thomas.
Howard’s recent finger injury should do nothing to change the fact that he’s worthy of Vezina consideration, as he still leads the league with 32 wins. Kiprusoff has really come on in the second half, and he’s the single biggest reason the Flames are in playoff contention. The 2006 Vezina Trophy winner has allowed two or fewer goals in eight of his past 10 starts.
Honorable mention: Mike Smith, Phoenix; Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott, St. Louis; Evgeni Nabokov, N.Y. Islanders; Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh; Roberto Luongo, Vancouver.