Four weeks into the 2012 NHL All-Star Fan Balloting, the race to be the winning goaltender is nearly too close to call.
Only 17,185 votes separate the top three-vote getters at the position, with a guaranteed invitation to the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa going to the winner.
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer, who jumped into the lead at the position last week, holds a narrow lead on the competition. With 308,025 votes, he's only 12,000 votes ahead of Boston's Tim Thomas (295,815). Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury (290,840) is a very close third in the race.
Those are the only three goaltenders to receive more than 200,000 votes in the fan balloting.
Fans can vote in the first six players (three forwards, two defensemen, one goalie) for this year's All-Star Game.
And the fans haven't been shy in voting for their favorites, as three players passed the 400,000-vote milestone this week. In all, more than 16 million votes have been cast, an increase of 60 percent from the first four weeks of last year's voting.
Boston's Tyler Seguin leads all write-in candidates at the position with 94,365 votes. He's 24th among all forwards.
Karlsson, who leads all NHL defensemen with 25 points, has built a sizable lead in fan voting. He picked up more than 69,000 votes in the past week to raise his total to 421,343 -- second only to Kessel among all players.
Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf earned more than 70,000 votes in the last week, and while that hasn't helped him close the gap on Karlsson, it did allow him to increase his lead on Pittsburgh's Kris Letang for the final automatic berth in the All-Star Game. With 395,082, Phaneuf leads Letang by more than 59,000 votes.
Montreal's Carey Price and Nashville's Pekka Rinne round out the top five among goaltenders. Detroit's Jimmy Howard leads all write-in candidates with 118,405 votes, placing him eighth among all goalies.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK