Bishop, Rask and Varlamov named Vezina finalists

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Three first-timers have been named the finalists for this year’s Vezina Trophy.

Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop, Boston’s Tuukka Rask and Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov have been chosen as the three nominees for the award, given annually to the league’s top goalkeeper and voted on by the league’s GMs.

Bishop, in his first season as a full-time starter, set a number of Lightning franchise records and became the first Bolts goalie to be nominated for the Vezina since Darren Puppa in 1996. Bishop finished fourth in the NHL in wins (37), fourth in shutouts (five) and seventh in goals-against average (2.23).

Rask earned his nomination by finishing as the only goalie to finish in the top five of each major statistical category: first in shutouts (seven), second in save percentage (.930), fourth in goals-against average (2.04) and fifth in wins. Rask also allowed two goals or less in a whopping 37 of 58 starts this season and helped the B’s capture their first Presidents’ Trophy since 1990.

Varlamov, who led the NHL with 41 wins and broke head coach Patrick Roy’s Avalanche franchise record in the process, shouldered a massive workload this year and finished tops in the NHL in shots faced (2,013) and saves (1,867). He is also the first Avs goalie to be nominated for the Vezina since Roy finished second to Jose Theodore in 2001-02.