After a bounce-back season in which he led the NHL in goals, Washington captain Alex Ovechkin won the Hart Trophy on Saturday as the league’s most valuable player.
Ovechkin, 27, beat out New York Islanders alternate captain John Tavares and Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby for the award.
The win marks the third time Ovechkin has captured MVP honors. He won back-to-back Hart Trophies in 2007-08 and 2008-09, and now joins some elite company among players that have won at least three league MVPs: Howie Morenz, Eddie Shore, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Bobby Clarke, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky.
Ovechkin also remains the only player in Capitals franchise history to have won the Hart.
This year, he did it on the strength of 32 goals in 48 games and finishing third in the NHL in scoring, with 56 points.
His play coincided with Washington’s remarkable in-season turnaround — left for dead after a 5-10-1 start to the season, the Capitals caught fire down the stretch and won their fifth Southeast Division title in the last six years.
Ovechkin led the Capitals in goals, power play goals, shots on goal and hits in 2013. His goal-per-game ratio would’ve worked out to roughly 55 over the course of an 82 game season — a telling statistic, given the Russian sniper’s goal production had slipped over the previous two seasons.
After scoring 52, 46, 65, 56 and 50 goals in his first five years in the NHL, Ovechkin scored 32 in 2010-11 and 38 in 2011-12.
Hart Trophy Top 10 voting
1. Alex Ovechkin, WSH 1090 (50-43-40-27-8)
2. Sidney Crosby, PIT 1058 (46-42-41-29-12)
3. John Tavares, NYI 919 (38-38-33-29-21)
4. Jonathan Toews, CHI 886 (39-35-29-29-19)
5. Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ 311 (4-12-13-25-47)
6. Patrick Kane, CHI 157 (2-6-9-14-8)
7. Ryan Getzlaf, ANA 96 (0-0-8-11-23)
8. Steven Stamkos, T.B. 28 (0-1-2-2-5)
9. Martin St. Louis, T.B. 20 (0-1-0-2-7)
10. Pavel Datsyuk, DET 18 (0-0-1-2-7)