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Sergei Bobrovsky top pick in Vezina Trophy race

Blue Jackets goalie unanimous selection by NHL.com panel at season's end

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

To mark the end of the 2016-17 regular season, NHL.com is running its fourth installment of the Trophy Tracker series this week. Today, we look at the race for the Vezina Trophy.

The 2016-17 regular season is finished, and it was a remarkable turnaround by the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

After finishing 15th in the Eastern Conference last season, the Blue Jackets won 50 games this season and finished third in an extremely competitive Metropolitan Division. 

At the forefront of their success was their goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky.

He went 41-17-5 with a 2.06 goals-against average, .931 save percentage and seven shutouts, playing the biggest role in the turnaround. That's why he was the unanimous choice of 14 NHL.com panelists to win the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender. 

Video: CBJ@PIT: Bobrovsky gets across for a great glove save

"There were lessons from last season," Bobrovsky told the Blue Jackets website. "The rest of it you try to throw in the garbage, reset your mind, relax, and get ready for what's next. It doesn't matter what happened yesterday. Tomorrow is most important and today is the life; that's the thing." 

Bobrovsky finished with 70 voting points, 18 more than the second-place finisher, Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals. Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot finished third with 31 points. 

Bobrovsky's stellar play throughout the season allowed him to earn the lowest GAA by goaltenders with at least 25 appearances. He was tied for third in shutouts, trailing Holtby and Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. 

Bobrovsky will have to carry his regular-season play into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where the Blue Jackets will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference First Round beginning Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; USA, SN 360, TVA Sports). The Penguins have home-ice advantage in the best-of-7 series, so Bobrovsky will have to steal at least one game on the road. 

Voting totals (points awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1- basis): Sergei Bobrovsky, Blue Jackets, 70 points; Braden Holtby, Capitals, 52 points; Cam Talbot, Oilers, 31 points; Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens, 25 points; Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild, 23 points; Tuukka Rask, Bruins, 5 points; Matt Murray, Penguins, 2 points; Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs, 1 point; John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks, 1 point.

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