To mark the midpoint of the 2016-17 season, NHL.com is running its second installment of the Trophy Tracker series this week. Today, we look at the race for the Vezina Trophy.
Nobody could have seen the Columbus Blue Jackets' recent 16-game winning streak coming, but it's clear who has been most responsible for their success this season.
Sergei Bobrovsky has been sensational since the regular season began in October. Of the 28 wins for the Blue Jackets this season, Bobrovsky has 26 of them, the most in the NHL. His .931 save percentage is tied for third among goalies who have played at least 15 games. Overall, the Blue Jackets have allowed 89 goals through 40 games.
That's why a poll of 12 NHL.com writers has Bobrovsky as the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy as the League's top goaltender at midseason.
Bobrovsky, 28, received 52 points, including seven first-place votes. Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, who spearheaded a 12-game winning streak and is tied for the League lead with five shutouts, fell one point short and had four first-place votes. Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens finished third with 39 points and one first-place vote. Price is one of six goalies to win 20 games, and he has a .928 save percentage through 30 starts.
Video: Trophy Tracker: Vezina picks at halfway point
In his past 18 games, Bobrovsky is 16-1-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. He won 14 of the 16 games during the Blue Jackets streak with a 1.64 GAA and .941 save percentage along the way.
Bobrovsky was named the NHL First Star for December, when he went 12-0-0 with a 1.75 GAA and allowed two goals or fewer in nine of his 12 starts. His play has the surprising Blue Jackets atop the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference standings. It's been a tremendous turnaround for Columbus, which fired coach Todd Richards after an 0-7-0 start last season.
"He said it last year, he felt he cost [Richards] his job, and I just thought he stood in there when he made that comment, so you know he felt that," Bllue Jackets coach John Tortorella said of Bobrovsky, who won the Vezina in 2013. "He's not happy what happened last year and he's one of the proudest athletes I have been around.
"I think he's grown mentally even more than physically and he has even more of a toughness about him mentally."
Voting totals (points awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1- basis): Sergei Bobrovsky, Blue Jackets, 52 points; Devan Dubnyk, Wild, 51; Carey Price, Canadiens, 39; Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins, 17; Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals, 11; Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks, 5; Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks, 3; Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins, 1; Peter Budaj, Los Angeles Kings, 1.