Evgeni Malkin Wins First Hart Trophy, Becomes Fourth MVP in Penguins History

James ConleyContributor IIIJune 21, 2012

Evgeni Malkin swept his nominations, winning the Hart, Lindsay and Art Ross Trophies.
Evgeni Malkin swept his nominations, winning the Hart, Lindsay and Art Ross Trophies.Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Evgeni Malkin won the Hart Trophy Wednesday night, beating out fellow nominees Steven Stamkos and Henrik Lundqvist to be named the NHL's Most Valuable Player. The MVP nod makes him the fourth Pittsburgh Penguin to win the award and the first since Sidney Crosby won it following the 2006-07 season.

Malkin opened the night by capturing the Ted Lindsay Award, the league MVP as voted by the players.Β  He also won his second Art Ross Trophy by leading the league in scoring during the regular season.

The hardware becomes Malkin's first MVP nod in three nominations after losing out to countryman Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08 and 2008-09. Mario Lemieux (1987-88, 1992-93, 1995-96), Jaromir Jagr (1998-98) and Crosby (2006-07) are the other Penguins to have been named MVP, giving Pittsburgh the most Hart winners among all expansion-era teams.

Geno's dominance this season can be measured by all metrics, but the numbers tell the story well enough. Malkin led the NHL in scoring this season with 109 points, four shy of his career-high 113 in 2008-09 and 12 more than Stamkosβ€”second-place scorer and fellow Hart nominee. It's the first time in more than a decade that the scoring leader finished with at least a double-digit lead on the second-place finisher.

Malkin was also the only player to top the century mark in points this year, and he joined Stamkos as the only players to crack 50 goals.

The Penguins center finished in the top 10 of the league in six major offensive categories, finishing first in points (109), second in goals (50), first in shots on goal (339), fourth in game-winning goals (nine) and eighth in power-play goals (12). He also led the Penguins in all major offensive categories except shooting percentage and power-play goals.

All told, Malkin's haul on the 2011-12 season includes his first Hart Trophy, second Art Ross and first Ted Lindsay Award, which he can now place on the same shelf as his 2009 Art Ross Trophy, 2009 Conn Smythe Trophy, 2009 Stanley Cup and 2007 Calder Trophy.

Not bad for a guy whose season began just six months after major reconstructive knee surgery.

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