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Friday, April 27, 2012
Hart Trophy finalists

By Mark Stepneski

Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the Hart Trophy, which goes to the NHL's MVP.

Here's the release from the league:
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, center Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and center Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the 2011-12 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 Wednesday, June 20, during the 2012 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. The 2012 NHL Awards will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network in the United States and CBC in Canada.

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

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

Lundqvist was the anchor of a Rangers club that posted its best regular-season record since the Stanley Cup season of 1993-94 and captured first place in the Eastern Conference. He went 39-18-5 in 62 appearances, setting a career high in wins. He placed near the top in all major goaltending categories: third in wins, tied for third in shutouts (eight), fourth in goals-against average (1.97) and fourth in save percentage (.930). Also voted a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, Lundqvist is the first goaltender to vie for Hart Trophy honors since 2007, when Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and New Jersey's Martin Brodeur were second and third, respectively.

Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

Malkin captured his second career Art Ross Trophy by leading the NHL with 109 points (50 goals, 59 assists). He registered points in 60 of the 75 games he played in (80%) and became the first player since 1995-96 to record five or more points at least four times in one season. Malkin also finished second in the NHL with a career-high 50 goals and led the League with 339 shots on goal. He is the first scoring champion to win by a double-digit margin since Pittsburgh's Jaromir Jagr finished 20 points ahead of Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne in 1998-99. Malkin is a Hart Finalist for the third time; he finished second to Washington's Alex Ovechkin in 2008 and 2009.

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

Stamkos scored a League-leading 60 goals to capture his second Maurice Richard Trophy in the past three seasons. He notched his 60th goal in Tampa Bay's season finale at Winnipeg, becoming the first player to reach the milestone since 2007-08 (Alex Ovechkin, 65); before Ovechkin, the last time a player hit 60 was 1995-96 (Mario Lemieux, 69; Jaromir Jagr, 62). Stamkos tied for the League lead with Phoenix's Radim Vrbata in game-winning goals (12), scored an NHL-record five overtime goals and notched 48 even-strength scores, the most of any player since 1992-93. The 22-year-old is an NHL Trophy finalist for the first time.