As the NHL season drew to a close Sunday evening, a tense race saw the defending-champion Blackhawks grab the final postseason berth in the West when Minnesota defeated Dallas 5-3. The stage is now set for the Stanley Cup Playoffs to begin Wednesday night, but some of the prizes have already been won.
With the end of the season, the Art Ross Trophy, the Williams Jennings Trophy and the Maurice Richard Trophy -- which are dependent on statistics -- have been decided, with the winners to be honored at the 2011 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 22. Seeing as how the Vancouver Canucks took this year's Presidents' Trophy with 117 points, two of the three awards may as well get a blue-and-green paint job.
In the case of the Art Ross Trophy, this is even more prescient, as a Canuck has kept the award in the family for the second straight year. Literally.
Art Ross Trophy:
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks: It was just last year that Daniel's twin brother Henrik took the Art Ross Trophy as the League's highest scorer with 112 points. Henrik "only" notched 94 this time around, but Daniel picked up the slack in a big way, breaking previous career highs in both goals (41) and assists (63) to grab the award with 104 points.
Daniel's impressive offense is hardly the only aspect of his game -- he was second in the League among forwards with a plus-30 rating -- but his scoring ability not only won him a rightly deserved Ross Trophy, it was also an historic achievement, marking the first time that brothers have claimed the award in back-to-back seasons.
Maurice Richard Trophy:
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks: Three-quarters of the way through, Corey Perry was having a solid season with 31 goals but he wasn't in the discussion of the League's elite scorers or the NHL's MVP, for that matter. After his absolutely torrid performance down the stretch, Perry sealed up one of those titles and may well win the second in a walk this June.
Perry scored an almost absurd 19 goals in the final 16 games of the season, which not only lifted Anaheim from outside the top eight to home ice in a first-round playoff series, but it also won Perry his first Maurice Richard Trophy as the highest goal scorer in the League after he lit the lamp a total of 50 times during the regular season. The amazing run by Perry not only left him just six points behind Sedin in the race for the Art Ross Trophy, but it also completely shattered his previous career-high for goals, a mark of 32 that he set during the 2008-09 season.
William Jennings Trophy:
Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, Vancouver Canucks: With the distinction of the goaltending duo with the fewest goals allowed during the course of the season, Luongo and Schneider became the first tandem in Canucks franchise history to claim the Jennings Trophy, doing so by combining to allow just 185 goals.
The bulk of the credit goes to No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo, who had a career season, leading the League with 38 wins and ranking in the top five in goals-against average (2.11) and save percentage (.928). His GAA was also a career best and his save percentage was his highest since coming to Vancouver five seasons ago. But the work of Schneider should not be discounted. The 2004 first-round pick was superb in his backup role, going 16-4-2 in 25 appearances and setting impressive marks with a 2.23 GAA and .929 save percentage.