A blog focusing on the New York Rangers and all things hockey (also Yankees and Giants) with a New York attitude from a fan of 40 years whose greatest highlight came when Mark Messier lifting the Stanley Cup on June 14, 1994
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Every Rangers' fan knows that Henrik Lundqvist is the team's most valuable player and now the league is recognizing it as well.
"The King" has been named as one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL's Most Valuable Player. The other finalists are scoring champion Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins and 60-goal scorer Steven Stamkos of the Lightning.
This is the first time Lundqvist has been nominated as a Hart finalist. Earlier this week, he was named as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy for the fourth time in his career.
On Thursday, Lundqvist made 26 saves to lead the Rangers into the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2008 with a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.
This is the first time since the 2006-07 season that a goaltender has finished in the top three in Hart Trophy voting. Lundqvist has a chance to become the first goalie to win the Hart
since Jose Theodore in 2002.
Lundqvist earned 39 of the Rangers' 51 wins, and set single-season personal-bests with a 1.97 goals-against average and .930 save percentage -- fourth in the League in both categories -- and recorded eight shutouts.
Malkin spent the summer rehabbing a serious knee injury that ended his 2010-11 season in early February. He wasn't 100 percent when the 2011-12 season started, but registered his first 50-goal season and led the league in scoring with 109 points to win his second Art Ross Trophy.
Malkin was nominated for the Hart Trophy for the third time, finishing as the runner-up in 2008 and 2009.
Stamkos became the 20th player in NHL history to score 60 goals in a season and finished second to Malkin in the scoring race with a career-best 97 points. He won his second Rocket Richard Trophy as the league's top goal scorer.