Tuukka Rask didn’t get the ending he wanted to his postseason, but he nabbed a sweet consolation prize in winning his first career Vezina Trophy at the NHL Awards show on Tuesday night. Rask received 16 first place votes from the NHL general managers that voted on the award going to the best goaltender, and comfortably beat out second place finisher Semyon Varlamov.
In his first full NHL season as the starter in Boston after taking over the B’s starting job during the lockout-shortened campaign, Rask posted a 36-15-6 record, highlighted by a career-best 10-game point streak from Mar. 20-30 (9-0-1), and the Bruins captured their first Presidents’ Trophy since 1990 and led the Eastern Conference in team defense (2.08 GA/game) during the regular season.
The Finnish netminder 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.
He also was staring daggers at Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban during an awkward post-award interview with the Habs agitator during the NHL Awards show, a clear sign that there is still some hard feelings about the Canadiens ending Boston’s season in the second round of the playoffs.
Rask is the first Bruins goaltender to win the Vezina since Tim Thomas in 2011, but becomes the third Vezina winner for the Black and Gold in the seven seasons that Claude Julien has been behind the B’s bench.
Given Rask’s youth and his long term deal with the Bruins, there’s no reason to think that this will be the last time the Bruins goaltender will be taking honors as the best NHL goaltender in the land. Here is how the voting broke down for the award:
1. Tuukka Rask, BOS 103 (16-6-5)
2. Semyon Varlamov, COL 90 (9-13-6)
3. Ben Bishop, TB 32 (1-6-9)
4. Carey Price, MTL 26 (2-3-7)
5. Jonathan Quick, LA 9 (1-1-1)
6. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 5 (1-0-0)
7. Steve Mason, PHI 3 (0-1-0)
8. Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ 1 (0-0-1)
Kari Lehtonen, DAL 1 (0-0-1)