Lundqvist Named Vezina Finalist Again
For the fifth time in his remarkable eight-year NHL career, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was named as a finalist for the 2013 Vezina Trophy on Wednesday. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner as the league's top goalie, Lundqvist has been a finalist for the award following the 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2011-12 seasons in addition to this year.
"It means a lot, I am really proud to be in that category," Lundqvost told reporters following the Rangers morning skate Wednesday prior to Game Four of their playoff series with Washington. "Personally, maybe I had more highs last year, but consistency this year is something I am very pleased about."
Lundqvist started 43 of the Rangers 48 games in this truncated season. He tied for the league lead in wins (24) and starts (43), ranked fifth in save percentage (.926), and seventh in goals against average (2.05). Lundqvist also posted two shutouts to become the Rangers all-time leader in that category with 51.
"It's been an interesting year," explained Lundqvist on Wednesday. "A different year. A shorter season. Tight schedule. Things maybe didn't go our way alll the time. When you have to work really hard to get back in the race, and to finally get in (to the playoffs), it's just a big reward."
Joining Lundqvist as Vezina Trophy finalists this season are Colbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and San Jose Sharks netminder Antti Niemi. Noth Bobrovsky and Niemi are first-time finalists for the Vezina.
"I am really proud and honored to be in that category with some great goalies," stated Lundqvist. "I think if you look at all the teams everybody has good goalies. The standard is really high and the competition is so hard. You have to put it all in to stay up there. It's about pushing yourself."
As news spread Wednesday morning that Lundqvist---the Rangers team MVP seven years running---was nominated for another Vezina Trophy, his teammates and coach expressed their feelings and pride about their No. 1 goaltender.
When asked about Lundqvist's importance to the team, head coach John Tortorella replied, "It's everything. As I have always said, he is the backbone of our club. I think he is a special athlete as far as how he plays...and just how he competes. The thing I love about him is how he competes."
Added teammate Brian Boyle, "His constant preparation, the way he wants to be the best. He strives for it everyday. It's a great quality. It's great leadership on his part and it's not surprising that he's a finalist again."
The winner of the Vezina Trophy will be announced during the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.
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