Lundqvist, Malkin, Stamkos finalists
New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos were named finalists for the Hart Trophy Friday, awarded to the most valuable player in the league.
Lundqvist, fresh off his Game 7 win Thursday night in the Eastern Conference first-round series against the Ottawa Senators, also is a Vezina Trophy finalist, given to the best goalie in the league.
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This marks only the eighth time since 1980 that a goalie is one of the Hart finalists, and the first since 2006-07, when Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and New Jersey's Martin Brodeur were in the top three.
Lundqvist had a 1.97 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage as the Rangers won the Eastern Conference regular-season title for the first time since 1993-94.
Malkin had two burdens to overcome -- last season's knee surgery to repair two torn ligaments, and the absence of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. He more than succeeded in both, winning his second Art Ross Trophy as the league's top scorer with 109 points.
He had 50 goals, 10 fewer than Stamkos, but had 59 assists to Stamkos' 37. In the 14 games Malkin did not have a point, the Penguins went 5-9-0.
Stamkos is the only one of the finalists whose team did not make the playoffs, but not for lack of trying. He played in all 82 games, tied for the league lead in game-winners with 12, and became just the 20th player in history to score 60 goals, winning the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league's top goal-scorer.
Winners will be announced during the NHL awards ceremony June 20 in Las Vegas.