NHL Awards: Hart Trophy finalists

Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and John Tavares are the finalists for the Hart Trophy, which goes to the  league’s most valuable player. Here’s the release from the NHL.

Center Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, right wing Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and center John Tavares of the New York Islanders are the three finalists for the 2012-13 Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team,” the National Hockey League announced today.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association submitted ballots for the Hart Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, with more detail on format to be released at a later date.

Following are the finalists for the Hart Trophy, in alphabetical order:

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Although he missed the final 12 games of the regular season due to injury, Crosby still finished fourth in the League with 56 points and second with 41 assists to help the Penguins claim the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. He collected points in 28 of the 36 games he played in (77.8%), including 17 multi-point efforts, and recorded three point streaks of six games or more, including an eight-game stretch Feb. 24-March 10 (5?15—20). Crosby also finished fourth in the NHL with a +26 rating and posted his second career five-assist game March 10 vs. NY Islanders, becoming the only active NHLer with more than one such game in his career. The 25-year-old Cole Harbour, N.S., native previously won the Hart Trophy in 2006-07 and also was a finalist for the award in 2009-10.

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Ovechkin tallied 32 goals in 48 games, including 23 in his final 23 contests, to become the first three-time winner of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s goal-scoring leader. He also finished third in the League in points (56), first in power-play goals (16), first in power-play points (27) and first in shots on goal (220), leading the Capitals to an 11-1-1 record in April and their fifth Southeast Division title in the last six years. Ovechkin recorded points in nine straight games March 17-April 2 (10-5—15), including a five-game goal streak March 17-24, and tallied his 30th goal of the year April 20, becoming the ninth player in League history to score 30 or more goals in each of his first eight seasons. The 27-year-old Moscow native is a two-time Hart Trophy winner (2007-08, 2008-09) and also was a finalist for the award in 2009-10.

John Tavares, New York Islanders

Tavares ranked third in the League with 28 goals and led the Islanders with 47 points in 48 games to propel the team to its first postseason berth since 2006-07. He scored 15 of his goals on the road (third in the NHL), helping the Islanders record their best road winning percentage in franchise history (.667). Tavares also ranked in the top 10 in the League in even-strength goals (19), power-play goals (nine) and game-winning goals (five). He scored in five straight games Feb. 7-16, including his fourth career hat trick Feb. 16 vs. New Jersey, and posted 13 multi-point games. The 22-year-old Mississauga, Ont., native is a first-time finalist for the Hart Trophy.

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