How Alex Ovechkin won the Hart Trophy

Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals won the 2012-13 Hart Memorial Trophy for regular-season MVP, his third most valuable player trophy and first since 2009.

Center Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ovechkin and center John Tavares of the New York Islanders are the three finalists for the Hart, awarded “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team,” as voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

From the NHL:

Ovechkin tallied 32 goals in 48 games, including 23 in his final 23 contests, to become the first three-time winner of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s goal-scoring leader. He also finished third in the League in points (56), first in power-play goals (16), first in power-play points (27) and first in shots on goal (220), leading the Capitals to an 11-1-1 record in April and their fifth Southeast Division title in the last six years. Ovechkin recorded points in nine straight games March 17-April 2 (10-5—15), including a five-game goal streak March 17-24, and tallied his 30th goal of the year April 20, becoming the ninth player in League history to score 30 or more goals in each of his first eight seasons.

We cast our ballot for Ovechkin.

Sure, his first half was underwhelming, but his second half was outstanding enough to wipe that away. He was the reason the Capitals turned their season. If you give Corey Perry the Hart for what was essentially a torrid second half of the season two years ago, you give Ovechkin the Hart.

Here are the vote totals:

The margin of victory -- just 32 points from a record-setting 179
ballots cast -- represents the closest Hart Trophy race since Montreal's
Jose Theodore and Calgary's Jarome Iginla finished in a virtual tie in 2002.