NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, fresh from leading the New York Rangers into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, is one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy, the annual award for the most valuable player in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Swede Lundqvist, hot favorite to win the Vezina Trophy as best goalie this season, was joined by Russian center Evgeni Malkin and Canadian center Steven Stamkos as the three finalists for the regular season accolade, decided by journalists.

The award winner will be announced in Las Vegas on June 20 with all three offering strong cases.

Lundqvist has been a model of consistency in the net for the Rangers this season, leading them to the best record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season and a place in the semi-finals.

Malkin captured his second Art Ross Trophy as the leading pointscorer in the NHL with 109 points for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

He has twice before been nominated for the Hart award but finished second each time behind Washington's Alex Ovechkin, in 2008 and 2009.

Stamkos was the leading goal scorer in the league this season, finding the net for Tampa Bay on 60 occasions.

(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)