At one point this season, quite recently, the Vezina Trophy race was a sprint to a coronation: Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals goaltender and pupil of that Netminding Yoda Mitch Korn, had the trophy in the bag.
He had the NHL lead in wins. As he did for goals-against average. As he did for save percentage.
As for Feb. 12, he still holds onto one of those leads: Wins, with 35, four more than Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks. That’s 14 more wins than Petr Mrazek of the Detroit Red Wings – Holtby has started 44 games, Mrazek has 34 – but hey would you look at that: The Red Wings goalie leads the NHL in save percentage (.934) and GAA (1.94) heading into Friday night’s game hosting the Colorado Avalanche.*