Los Angeles Kings netminder has been instrumental in his team's play-off success.
Jonathan Quick leading candidate to lift Vezina Trophy
Great goaltending is a prerequisite for play-off success. You just cannot win without it, at least not for very long.
This spring is certainly no exception, with Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick and New York's Henrik Lundqvist up for the Vezina Trophy for their regular season exploits and carrying over that high quality of play into the post-season.
Phoenix's Mike Smith also played well enough for a Vezina nomination, probably coming up short as he is less of known commodity than Quick, Lundqvist and Nashville's Pekka Rinne. Nevertheless, Smith is the biggest reason the Coyotes made the play-offs, and the biggest reason they have advanced as far as they have.
Then there's Martin Brodeur. The New Jersey Devils goalie is a three-time Stanley Cup champion and has been the backbone of the Devils for nearly 20 years.
While Lundqvist has been a revelation for the Rangers since arriving in the NHL in 2005, he has never been this far in the play-offs before. Quick and Smith are probably the leading candidates for play-off MVP honours, but they are deep into uncharted waters.
This is Brodeur's fifth trip to the conference finals, and the veteran Devil knows he may not have many more chances. Not only have the Devils stumbled in the play-offs since last winning the cup in 2003, Brodeur has endured multiple injury absences in the past few seasons after being such an ironman. This could be his last shot at another championship – here's hoping he delivers a performance worthy of his Hall of Fame career.
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