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Islanders Center John Tavares Named Hart Trophy Finalist

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(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Islanders center John Tavares is among the three finalists for the NHL’s prestigious Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the player “adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.”

Tavares earned high consideration after leading the Islanders to their first playoff berth since 2006-07.

The Hart Trophy is voted on at the end of the regular season by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

Tavares’ 28 goals were third-most in the NHL, and the 22-year-old scored 47 points in 48 games. He is a first-time finalist and going up against some stiff competition.

Considered by many the overwhelming favorite is Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, whose tremendous play down the stretch earned the Capitals a third-overall seed in the Eastern Conference. Ovechkin scored 23 goals in the final 23 games of the regular season. His 32 goals led all NHL skaters and won his third career “Rocket” Richard Trophy. Ovechkin is a two-time winner of the Hart Trophy.

Sidney Crosby isn’t just battling Tavares in a heated first-round series — he’s also in the race to win the Hart Trophy. Crosby enjoyed a huge season and helped the Penguins to the first overall seed in the Eastern Conference despite missing the final 12 games of the regular season. Crosby still finished with 56 points in 36 games.

The 2012-13 winner will be announced during the Stanley Cup Final.

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