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Bobrovsky, Lundqvist and Niemi up for Vezina Trophy as top goaltender

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy for a fifth time.

Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks were also named finalists Wednesday for the award given annually to the NHL's top goaltender.

Lundqvist, the reigning Vezina winner, tied for the NHL lead in regular-season wins, posting a 24-16-3 record with a 2.05 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.

He also tied for the league lead in starts with 43, ranked fifth in save percentage and seventh in goals-against average. Lundqvist helped clinch his seventh trip to the playoffs in eight NHL seasons by allowing two goals or less in 16 of his last 20 games.

Bobrovsky (21-11-6, 2.00 GAA, .932 save percentage and four shutouts) anchored Columbus's late-season surge that kept the club in contention for a playoff berth until the final moments of the season. He's up for the Vezina for the first time.

Niemi shared the NHL lead in starts (43), saw more ice time than any other goaltender (almost 2,600 minutes) and ranked third in shots faced (1,220) and saves (1,127).

He helped the Sharks post the league's sixth-best defensive record (2.33 goals-against per game) by going 24-12-6 with a 2.16 GAA, .924 save percentage and four shutouts. He finished tied for first overall in wins and seventh in save percentage.

Niemi is a Vezina finalist for the first time and is the fourth Finnish player in seven seasons to make the top three, joining Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff, Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom and Nashville's Pekka Rinne.

NHL general managers submitted ballots for the Vezina Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season. The winner will be announced during the 2013 Stanley Cup final.

The finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player as voted by the NHLPA will be announced Thursday.

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