Vancouver Canucks' goalie Roberto Luongo takes off his mask on the bench after being replaced by backup goalie Cory Schneider after Chicago's fourth goal during the second period of game 5 of an NHL Western Conference quarterfinal Stanley Cup playoff hockey series in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday April 21, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, given annually to the NHL's top goaltender.
Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins are the other award finalists, as announced by the league on Friday.
The winner will be announced at the NHL awards banquet June 22 in Las Vegas.
Luongo was a big reason why Vancouver finished the regular season with the NHL's best record. He posted a 38-15-7 record in 60 appearances and a career-best 2.11 goal-against average to go with a .928 save percentage.
Luongo is a Vezina finalist for the third time, finishing second in voting in 2007 and third in 2004.
Luongo said he was pleased with the nomination but that his focus now is helping Vancouver win Game 6 of their NHL playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
"It's an honour," he said. "It's nice to see your work was rewarded. But obviously, at this time, our focus, especially for me, is on Sunday. We'll probably enjoy more when the season is done."
Canuck coach Alain Vigneault said Luongo being considered for the awarded reflects on the whole Canuck organization.
"It means that during the regular season we were good," said Vigneault. "Now it's playoff hockey and we need to be good at this time."
Rinne had a 33-22-9 record with Nashville this season, posting a 2.12 GAA and .930 save percentage and six shutouts in 64 games. He was second among NHL goaltenders in save percentage and third in goals-against average.
Thomas enjoyed a banner campaign following off-season hip surgery. He won his first eight decisions, a Bruins team record, and became the first NHL goalie to win his first nine road games since Chicago's Glenn Hall in 1965-66.
The 2009 Vezina Trophy winner had a league-best 2.00 GAA and posted a 35-11-9 record and .938 save percentage, eclipsing Dominik Hasek's .937 mark with Buffalo in 1998-99 as the best since the statistic was introduced in 1976-77.
Surprisingly, Montreal goalie Carey Price was not a finalist despite a solid season. Price finished tied with Luongo for most wins for a goalie, was fourth overall with a .928 save percentage and eighth with a 2.35 GAA while making a league-high 72 appearances.
"I'm a little bit disappointed but it is what it is," Price said Friday. "Whoever was nominated deserves to be there and I won't take anything away from them.''
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