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Trophy Tracker: 'King' Henrik should get Vezina crown

Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 10:53 AM / Trophy Tracker

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Trophy Tracker: 'King' Henrik should get Vezina crown
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is having a season that's eye-opening even for a player with his resume. It's made him a clear favorite for this year's Vezina Trophy.

The NHL reached the three-quarter mark of its season this past weekend. Now, with the NHL Trade Deadline in the rear-view mirror, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines -- and award winners -- that have developed across the first 900-plus games of the 1,230-game regular season.

2011-12 NHL TROPHY TRACKER

The NHL reached the three-quarter mark of its season this past weekend. Now, with the NHL Trade Deadline in the rear-view mirror, NHL.com looks at some of the biggest storylines -- and award winners -- that have developed across the first 900-plus games of the 1,230-game regular season.
In the first two installments of this four-times-a-year endeavor, the race for the Vezina Trophy was extremely tight and filled with worthy candidates. Now that we're at the three-quarter mark of the season, the picture is beginning to come more into focus.

It's not strictly a three-man race -- Jimmy Howard, Miikka Kiprusoff and Mike Smith won't make the cut here, but all still can make a push over the final 20-plus games -- but these are one man's opinions on the winner of and finalists for this year's Vezina Trophy.

Winner:

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers -- Take away the excellent season of Blues goaltender Brian Elliott, who has made just 28 starts, and Lundqvist is almost lapping the field in every category. Lundqvist is first in save percentage (.940), has the lead in shutouts (eight), is second in goals-against average (1.75) and his 30 victories are tied for fourth, behind three goaltenders who all have made more starts. While the Rangers' blue line has been battling injuries all season (Marc Staal, Michael Sauer, Steve Eminger), Lundqvist has been a rock and the No. 1 reason New York is atop the Eastern Conference.

Finalists:

Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators -- He leads the NHL in starts (57) and wins (35), making him perhaps the most valuable goaltender in the League, but just a step below Lundqvist at the moment. Rinne is fifth in save percentage at .926 and No. 12 in goals-against average at 2.33 among goaltenders who have made at least 30 starts. The Predators are known as a defensive machine, but they allow the fifth-most shots (31.0) per game in the NHL.

Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings -- Throw out victories when it comes to Quick, who backstops the team with the worst offense in the NHL. Quick is 25-18-11 with a stellar 1.92 GAA and .932 save percentage. Yes, he's lost four more times than he's won this season despite allowing fewer than two goals per game, but his numbers are close enough to Lundqvist's, though, that a strong finish could help his cause.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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