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Lundqvist honored with the Vezina

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been named the 2011-12 Vezina Trophy winner. The Vezina Trophy is awarded annually to the goaltender who is "adjudged to be the best at his position," as voted by the league’s 30 general managers. The winner was announced at the 2012 NHL Awards at the Encore Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Lundqvist, 30, established career-highs in wins (39) and save percentage (.930), and posted a career-best in goals against average (1.97) this season. He tied for fourth in the NHL in goals against average, third in shutouts (eight), and ranked third in wins and save percentage. Lundqvist held opponents to two or fewer goals in 41 games, and posted a record of 12-5-1 with a 2.08 goals against average, .941 save percentage and two shutouts when stopping 30 or more shots.

Henrik Lundqvist displays the Vezina Trophy he won on Wednesday night at the NHL Awards Show. Lundqvist is the Rangers' first Vezina winner since John Vanbiesbrouck captured the award in 1985-86.

He posted consecutive shutouts for the first time in his career, contributing to a career-high shutout streak of 182:33 from 19:11 of the 2nd on January 21 at Boston to 12:02 of the 2nd on February 5 vs. Philadelphia. Lundqvist also registered a career-high, seven-game winning streak from December 20 to January 10, posting a 1.13 goals against average, .962 save percentage and one shutout over the span. During the streak, Lundqvist recorded a 34-save effort in a 3-2 win at the NHL Winter Classic on January 2 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, which featured the first penalty shot in a Winter Classic game with 0:20 remaining (save).

The Are, Sweden native captured Rangers MVP honors for a franchise record, sixth consecutive year, and made his third career All-Star appearance at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game. Lundqvist became the 45th goaltender in NHL history to record 250 career wins with a 22-save effort in a 4-2 victory on March 28 at Winnipeg. He also became the fourth goalie in NHL history to reach the 30-win mark in seven consecutive seasons, joining Tony Esposito, Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur, and increased his own NHL record of most 30-win seasons to begin his career.

This was the fourth season Lundqvist was voted as a Vezina Trophy finalist, having previously been in 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08. He is the fifth goaltender in Rangers history to win the Vezina Trophy — Dave Kerr (1939-40), Ed Giacomin and Gilles Villemure (co-winners, 1970-71), and John Vanbiesbrouck (1985-86) — and only the second to win the award since it adopted its current format in 1981-82. Lundqvist was nominated for three awards, the most of any player this season, having also been a finalist for the Hart Trophy as league MVP and the Ted Lindsay Award as the league’s most outstanding player as voted by the players.

Lundqvist was also named to the 2011-12 NHL First All-Star Team, as selected by select members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season. It was his first postseason All-Star selection. Lundqvist was joined by teammate Marian Gaborik, who was selected to the 2011-12 NHL Second All-Star Team for the first time.

Gaborik, 30, ranked third in the NHL in goals (41), second in overtime goals (three), 14th in shots on goal (276), tied for 11th in game-winning goals (seven), and 15th in points (76) while skating in a career-high, 82 games. He led the team in goals, points and shots, ranked second in assists (35), power play goals (10) and power play points (21), and fourth in power play assists (11). Gaborik reached the 40-goal mark for the third time in his career, and second time in three seasons as a Ranger, on April 1 vs. Boston. He also became the fifth Rangers player in franchise history to earn MVP honors at the All-Star Game after posting a hat trick, adding an assist for four points, six shots on goal and a plus-three rating while making his third career All-Star appearance.

The Trencin, Slovakia native reached several career milestones this season, including his 700th career NHL game, 600th career point, 300th career goal and 300th career assist.

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