The Vezina Trophy race has gotten tighter than ever at the top as two young netminding stars in the Atlantic Division make their cases loud and clear.
The stretch drive is going to determine the Vezina race and it’s almost too close to call right now. Many of the early surprises have either tailed off or simply not garnered enough starts to be counted, while the leader of the pack has finally been usurped.
1. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
Rask surpasses Bishop on several grounds, not the least of which is a five-game winning streak. The Finnish netminder also has the best goals-against average in the NHL at 2.10; a cracking .928 save percentage and six shutouts.
2. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning
Bishop has been a rock all season and like Rask, his save percentage is a lofty .928. But the tall ‘tender gave up four goals to lowly Florida on Thursday night and that was his first win in five starts.
3. Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche
Just the fourth Russian goalie to notch 100 NHL wins (Khabibulin, Bryzgalov and Nabokov are the others) in his career, Varlamov has been stellar for the Avs, who are flying high down the stretch drive. His .926 save percentage ranks fifth overall.
4. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
The most successful workhorse in the NHL, Fleury leads all netminders with 34 wins, while the five shutouts prove he’s not just a guy on a good team. Further to that end, Fleury has a downright decent 2.26 GAA.
5. Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs
Phil Kessel may be getting a brassy amount of points, but ask the punditry and they’ll tell you that Bernier has been the MVP of this Buds team. He’s going through a minor injury right now, but his 25 wins and .925 save percentage have been a godsend for the Leafs.
6. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
He certainly has the numbers to be a bit higher on the list, but his absence since the Olympics has put Price behind the competition a little. If and when he returns, he’ll need to be strong right away again for the Habs.
7. Ryan Miller, St. Louis Blues
Miller has been playing fantastic all season and his .924 save percentage is proof of that, but now he has begun piling up the wins. Since getting traded to St. Louis from Buffalo, Miller is 5-0-1. If he can end the season with a winning record (he’s 20-22-4 now), he’ll be in the mix.
8. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
The Jackets are marching through the playoffs and though Bobrovsky’s not the only reason, he’s a pretty good one. The Russian Olympian has garnered his team points in four of his past five outings and has a sturdy .918 save percentage.
9. Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks
Though the franchise is littered with excellent goalies, Hiller is still No. 1 in Anaheim with five shutouts and a 26-10-6 record. The next goal is a long playoff run.
10. Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks
Like his California compatriot, Niemi is a good goalie who also happens to be on a good team. His 32 wins rank among the best in the NHL and with three shutouts, he’s proving to be a healthy contributor to the Sharks’ overall success.