April 27, 2009

Mason among Vezina Trophy finalists

Columbus rookie Steve Mason was one of three players selected as finalists for the Vezina Trophy given each year to the NHL's top goaltender.

Mason, Boston's Tim Thomas and Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom, who had the best goals-against averages in the NHL this season, were named finalists for the award Monday. The winner is to be announced June 18.

Mason was 33-20-7 this season and led the NHL with 10 shutouts as he helped the Blue Jackets to their first playoff berth. His GAA of 2.29 was second-best in the league. He is also a candidate for the Calder Trophy, given to the top first-year player in the NHL.

Thomas was 36-11-7 with five shutouts for Boston. He had a league-leading GAA of 2.10 and he and Bruins backup goaltender Manny Fernandez teamed to allow the fewest goals in the league.

Backstrom was 37-24-8 with eight shutouts. His 2.33 GAA was third-best in the NHL.