NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby, Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin and Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin were named Hart trophy finalists as the NHL's most valuable player on Thursday.
A second Hart trophy would cap off a spectacular 12 months for Crosby after leading the Penguins to a Stanley Cup last June and scoring the golden goal in Canada's victory over the United States in Vancouver Winter Game's men's ice hockey final.
Crosby, winner of the 2007 Hart, scored 50 goals for the first time in his NHL career this season to earn a share of the Maurice "Rocket" Richard trophy with Steven Stamkos as the league's top goal scorer with 51.
With his nomination, Ovechkin is bidding to become the first player to win three straight Hart trophies since Wayne Gretzky claimed a record eight straight from 1980-87.
The Russian sniper enjoyed another productive campaign scoring 50 goals for the third consecutive season and the fourth time in his five-year career.
Sedin became the first Vancouver Canuck to win the Art Ross trophy after finishing the season as the NHL's top scorer with 112 points and the Swede could also become the first member of the franchise to earn MVP honors if he tops the Hart balloting.
The winner will be announced on June 23 at the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas.
(Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto; editing by Alison Wildey)