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NHL Awards

Vezina Trophy winner to be announced before Game 2 of Stanley Cup Final

Hellebuyck, Rask, Vasilevskiy up for award given to best goalie in NHL

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

2019-20 Vezina Trophy Finalists

Vezina Trophy Finalists announced

Connor Hellebuyck, Tuukka Rask and Andrei Vasilevskiy have been named finalists for the Vezina Trophy

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Winners of the 2020 NHL Awards presented by Las Vegas will be announced beginning Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN in the U.S. as well as Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

Here is a look at the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy:

Connor Hellebuyck, Tuukka Rask and Andrei Vasilevskiy are the finalists for the Vezina Trophy.

The award, voted on by NHL general managers, is given annually to the goalie voted the best at his position. Voting was done before the start of the 2020 NHL postseason and the finalists were announced July 17.

Hellebuyck played more than 50 games for the Winnipeg Jets for the fourth straight season and led the League with six shutouts. He also finished second in wins (31) and was seventh in save percentage (.922) among goalies to play at least 20 games. He was 31-21-5 with a 2.57 goals-against average when the NHL season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. The runner-up for the Vezina Trophy in 2017-18, Hellebuyck would be the first goalie in Jets/Atlanta Thrashers history to win the award.

"To be where [I am] now it's very cherishable and it's a great moment," Hellebuyck said. "I hope [I] can continue to build on it. As you get older, you start learning the game and your game and you start managing it better, start managing your energy levels and you manage what's going on around you better."

Winnipeg finished the regular season 37-28-6 (.563 points percentage) but lost their best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifier series in four games to the Calgary Flames. Hellebuyck had a 3.04 GAA and .904 save percentage. 

"I mean, he's up for the Vezina. He's got my vote," Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey said. "He looks great on the ice here and his presence, his poise. He's a calm guy, he's never too high or too low, he's very confident in his game. I think that radiates out through our whole team but definitely our blue line."

Video: VGK@WPG: Hellebuyck stymies Vegas to earn the shutout

Rask finished the season 26-8-6 and, along with Jaroslav Halak, helped the Boston Bruins win the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals (167) in the NHL. He led the League with a 2.12 GAA, tied for second with five shutouts and was second in save percentage (.929) among goalies who played at least 20 games. He allowed two or fewer goals in 27 of 41 games and began the season with a 20-game point streak on home ice (14-0-6). Rask won the Vezina Trophy in 2013-14.

"As the years go by, you kind of learn different things about your game, about yourself and what you need to do," Rask said. "It's just a balance of keeping your mind and body in sync and trying to improve your game every day and every year and before you know it, 10 years go by and you start to look back."

Rask was 1-3-0 with a 2.57 GAA and .904 save percentage before opting out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Aug. 15. The Bruins were eliminated from the Eastern Conference Second Round in five games by the Tampa Bay Lightning after winning the Presidents' Trophy given to the team with the best regular-season record (44-14-12, .714).

Vasilevskiy (35-14-3) led the NHL in wins for the third straight season and had a 21-game point streak (19-0-2) from Dec. 17 to Feb. 15. He had a 2.56 GAA, .917 save percentage and three shutouts for the Lightning (43-21-6), who won at least 10 games in a row twice this season.He's 14-6-0 with a 1.88 GAA and .929 save percentage entering Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Dallas Stars at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS). Tampa Bay trails the best-of-7 series 1-0.

"I think the guys will agree on this that you cannot be a good goalie without a great team," Vasilevskiy said. "It's very tough especially in the NHL. There's too many good players out there trying to score on you. … The whole team deserves the award."

Vasilevskiy won the Vezina last season and is a finalist for the third straight year. He could become the first to win it in consecutive seasons since Martin Brodeur did so with the New Jersey Devils in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

"I don't have statistics on this but to be nominated for any award three times [in a row] just goes to show how your team has performed at such a high level for a long time," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "But at his age (25) it's pretty remarkable. It's no secret he's been a backbone for us even since he got to our team. It's an honor for him to be recognized three years in a row. I don't want to sit here and say he's exceeded our expectations because we were hoping he'd be like this."

The 2020 NHL Awards were scheduled for June 18 in Las Vegas but were postponed March 25. staff writer Tim Campbell and independent correspondent Corey Long contributed to this report

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