Vezina Trophy Watch: Bishop takes crown

Ryan Kennedy
Ben-Bishop-TB

There’s a changing of the guard atop the Vezina Watch rankings and it’s not so much a case of the incumbent slipping as one of the new guy just really blowing the doors off the league lately. Who is that masked man, you ask? Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop.

1. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay

The 6-foot-7 stopper has been solid all season, but lately he’s on fire. Bishop have given up an average of one goal per game in his past five appearances and holds a gawdy 23-5-4 record. His .938 save percentage is tops in the NHL, his four shutouts good for second.

2. Josh Harding, Minnesota

Still doing big things for the Wild, Harding may be the runner-up this time, but his 1.65 goals-against average cannot be beat. With three losses in his past five starts, his record is taking a bit of a hit, but is still an impressive 18-7-3.

3. Semyon Varlamov, Colorado

The Avs are red-hot again and that’s trouble for the rest of the Central, since Varlamov is on point right now. The Russian Olympian is 4-0-1 in his past five outings, with a scintillating .929 save percentage and the second-most stops in the NHL (1,081) overall.

4. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh

He may not have an eye-popping save percentage (though .917 is decent), but Fleury gets the job done for the Pens and the result so far is a 27-10-1 record, giving the netminder a commanding lead in the NHL wins department. Only Antti Niemi has played more minutes.

5. Tuukka Rask, Boston

Rask has hit the skids a little lately, giving up 12 goals in his past four games. One of those was a shutout, the other three losses. But with an NHL-best five goose eggs and a robust 2.11 GAA, the sky isn’t exactly falling for Tuukka in Boston.

6. Carey Price, Montreal

Price hasn’t been invincible recently, but he’s still getting the wins and that counts for something. The Canadiens keeper is top-five in the league in games played, shots against, saves and minutes, with a solid 2.26 GAA.

7. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles

Now that he’s healthy, how far can Quick go? Backup Ben Scrivens is in Edmonton now, so the deck has been cleared for Quick to play major minutes and continue to whittle down an already impressive 2.06 GAA.

8. Jonathan Bernier, Toronto

It’s no secret the Maple Leafs rely on goaltending and Bernier is getting the lion’s share of starts after platooning early with James Reimer. Bernier’s .926 save percentage ranks seventh overall and he’s facing a lot of rubber.

9. Brian Elliott, St. Louis

His battery mate, Jaroslav Halak, has been on the list before, but Elliott’s 13-2-2 record and .925 save percentage put him in the spotlight now. Question is, will he end up with enough starts to warrant consideration at season’s end?

10. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

‘The King’ is coming around and he prefers to be busy. In his past five games, Lundqvist has won three contests in which he faced at least 37 shots and a fourth with a lesser workload. His three shutouts are tied for third overall.