Friday, March 8, 2013

Craig Anderson ahead in Vezina Race

Some of this season’s best goaltenders find themselves in an even time share. Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks has started 14 games and is second in the National Hockey League with a 1.41 goals-against average and .940 save percentage. Viktor Fasth of the Anaheim Ducks has come on strong in place of Jonas Hiller, posting a 9-1-1 record and 2.08 GAA with 11 starts.

Other goaltending leaders have dealt with injuries and haven’t played as many games as the season reaches the halfway point. Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators leads the League with a 1.49 GAA and .952 save percentage, but an ankle injury has limited him to 15 games. Kari Lehtonen has carried theDallas Stars this season with a 2.26 GAA and .930 save percentage, but has started 13 games because of a groin injury.

How will general managers decide on this year’s Vezina winner if the trend continues? As of now, Crawford, Fasth, Anderson and Lehtonen have played less than 65 percent of their teams’ games. Will GMs reward the flashy numbers, or the goaltenders who carry a far heavier load in this shortened season and have less-impressive numbers?

At this point, is awarding the Vezina to Anderson, who has been the best goaltender during the first half of the season. Anderson banked a lot of his numbers before getting hurt -- he's been out since Feb. 21 -- but he’s still been the most impressive to this point.

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