Malkin, Lundqvist highlight EA Sports NHL 13 cover quarterfinalists

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EA Sports and NHL.com have announced the eight quarterfinalists in the EA Sports NHL 13 Cover Vote contest, and a pair of Hart Trophy nominees top the list.

Evgeni Malkin and Henrik Lundqvist highlight a group of players that also includes Claude Giroux, Anze Kopitar, Pavel Datsyuk, John Tavares, Scott Hartnell and Pekka Rinne.

The “Elite Eight” will be paired off into head-to-head matchups with the winners advancing to the semifinals (to be held from May 24-28.)

The brackets:

Bracket A:

Claude Giroux vs. Anze Kopitar | Scott Hartnell vs. Evgeni Malkin

Bracket B:

Pavel Datsyuk vs. John Tavares | Henrik Lundqvist vs. Pekka Rinne

Bracket A voting runs from Friday to May 17. Bracket B voting begins May 18 and closes May 23. The semifinalists will be announced May 24, when the next round of voting begins.

The EA Sports Cover Vote Finals takes place from May 29 to June 4, with the winner being announced during the 2012 NHL Awards on June 20 at the Wynn Las Vegas.