NHL announces 3 finalists for Vezina Trophy

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche’s Semyon Varlamov were named as finalists for the 2013-14 Vezina Trophy, the NHL announced.

The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position.

The general managers of the 30 NHL clubs submitted ballots for the Vezina Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists.

The winner will be announced Tuesday, June 24, during the 2014 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas.

Bishop set multiple franchise records in backstopping the Lightning to a second-place finish in the Atlantic Division in his first season as a starter. He became the Lightning’s all-time leader for wins in a season with his 31st on Mar. 15 against New Jersey and finished the season ranked fourth in the NHL with 37.

Bishop also set a franchise mark in save percentage (.924). He tied for fourth in the League in shutouts (five) and placed seventh in goals-against average (2.23). Bishop is a Vezina Trophy finalist for the first time and the first Lightning nominee for the award since Daren Puppa placed third in 1996.

For his part, Rask posted a 36-15-6 record, highlighted by a career-best 10-game point streak from Mar. 20-30 (9-0-1), as the Bruins captured their first Presidents’ Trophy since 1990 and led the Eastern Conference in team defense (2.08 GA/game).

He allowed two goals or fewer in 37 of 58 starts, set single-season highs in wins and appearances, and was the only goaltender to rank among the NHL’s top five in each of the major statistical categories: first in shutouts (seven), second in save percentage (.930), fourth in goals-against average (2.04) and fifth in wins. Rask is a first-time Vezina finalist.

Varlamov led the NHL and set a franchise record with 41 victories, surpassing Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy’s previous single-season high of 40 in 2000-01, and joins Roy (1996-97) as the only goaltenders in club history to top the League in wins. He ranked first in the NHL in shots faced (2,013) and saves (1,867) and thrived under the heavy workload, posting a 7-1-1 mark when facing 40 or more shots and going 32-4-4 when facing 30-plus shots.

Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joe Cattarinich, former owners of the Montreal Canadiens, presented the trophy to the National Hockey League in 1926-27 in memory of Georges Vezina, the outstanding Canadiens goaltender who collapsed during an NHL game on Nov. 28, 1925, and died of tuberculosis a few months later.

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