SAN JOSE -- Sharks goalie Antti Niemi is one of three finalists for the NHL's Vezina Trophy designating the league's top netminder.

Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers were the other two finalists announced Wednesday based on voting by the league's general managers.

"It feels great. I think I played well," Niemi said before sharing the recognition with his teammates, noting "the team really matters how well the goalie can play."

The winner will be announced at some point during the Stanley Cup finals as the league canceled its usual awards show in Las Vegas because the season was shortened by the lockout.

Niemi tied with Lundqvist and Minnesota netminder Niklas Backstrom for the NHL lead with 24 wins, and played more minutes -- 2,580:46 -- than any goalie this season. His 2.16 goals against-average was 10th best in the league and his .924 save percentage was seventh.

Bobrovsky had the best personal statistics among the finalists with a 2.00 goals-against average and .932 save percentage, but the general managers may take into consideration the fact Columbus failed to make the playoffs.

Niemi, on the other hand, could benefit from the fact his strong play was all that kept the Sharks in playoff contention midway through the season as they struggled elsewhere.


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Voting ends before the playoffs begin, so Niemi's performance in the postseason -- where his save percentage has improved to .937 and his goals-against average dropped to 1.86 -- is not a factor.

Niemi is the second Sharks goalie to become a Vezina finalist as Evgeni Nabokov received the same recognition in 2008.

  • Before the start of Wednesday's games, the Sharks had scored more power-play goals in the postseason than any team, but the undisciplined play of the Vancouver Canucks had a lot to do with that.

    The Sharks had seven goals on 24 opportunities -- four more power-play chances than the team behind them on the list, the Ottawa Senators. Overall, the Sharks' success rate of 29.2 was third in the league behind Pittsburgh at 40 percent and Toronto at 33.3 percent.

    For more on the Sharks, see David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/PollakOnSharks.