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Canadiens' Price up for three trophies at NHL Awards

by Dan Rosen

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price might want to consider bringing an extra suitcase to Las Vegas for the 2015 NHL Awards show Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN), because he could be going home with an extensive amount of hardware.

Price is a finalist for the Hart Trophy as the League's most valuable player, the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goalie, and the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the most outstanding player in a vote by the members of the NHL Players' Association.

He is the only person with the opportunity to win three trophies at the Awards show, which will be held at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Price is considered the favorite to win all three after a dominant and historic regular season.

Price led the NHL and set a Canadiens record with 44 wins, and had a 1.96 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. He's the first goalie to lead all three categories in the same season since Ed Belfour in 1990-91 for the Chicago Blackhawks.

He is the first goalie to be a finalist for the Hart Trophy since Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers in 2012. He can become the first goalie to win it since former Montreal goalie Jose Theodore did in 2002.

Price already received a share of the William M. Jennings Trophy along, with Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks, as the No. 1 goalies on the teams with the fewest goals allowed (189).

"I'm obviously flattered and honored to be nominated," Price said April 30, one day after the Hart Trophy finalists were revealed. "There isn't individual successes without my team playing well in front of me."

Price's competition for the Hart Trophy is Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin and New York Islanders center John Tavares.

Ovechkin has won the Hart Trophy three times (2008, 2009, 2013) and is a finalist for the fifth time. Tavares was a finalist in 2013, when he finished third in the voting.

Ovechkin already has won the Rocket Richard Trophy for scoring a League-high 53 goals; he also led the League in power-play goals (25) and game-winning goals (11). It was his sixth career 50-goal season. He also is a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award.

Tavares set career highs with 38 goals and 86 points. He was second to Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn in the Art Ross Trophy race.

"He's very deserving," Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo said of Tavares on April 30. "He played well all year and he's one of the best players in the League. He had a hell of a year. I couldn't be happier for him to get that nomination."

Benn (87 points) is a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award along with Price and Ovechkin.

Price's competition for the Vezina Trophy features two goalies who could also win a comeback player of the year award if one existed.

Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators missed 51 games in the 2013-14 season because of hip surgery and a subsequent bacterial infection. This season he was second in wins (41), third in GAA (2.18) and tied for seventh in save percentage (.923) while helping the Predators make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Devan Dubnyk didn't become a starting goalie this season until he was traded to the Minnesota Wild from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 13. He had bounced from the Edmonton Oilers to the Predators to the Canadiens to the American Hockey League last season. He finished the season fourth on the Canadiens' depth chart behind Price, Dustin Tokarski and Peter Budaj.

Dubnyk started his first game for the Wild on Jan. 15, when they were eight points out of a Western Conference playoff spot. Dubnyk proceeded to set a Wild record with 38 consecutive starts and helped them earn the first wild card from West, going 27-9-2 with a 1.78 GAA, a .936 save percentage and five shutouts.

He also is a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, along with Ottawa Senators goalie Andrew Hammond and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang. The award is presented "to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."

"It was just hard at the beginning of the year, there's no easy way to put it," Wild left wing Zach Parise said in April. "Once Dubnyk came in, everything came together at the same time; that's when we took off."

Price's teammate, P.K. Subban, is hoping to take home the Norris Trophy for the second time. Subban, who had 60 points and a plus-21 rating while averaging 26:12 of ice time per game, won the Norris in 2013.

Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, who led all defensemen with 66 points, also is hoping to win the Norris for the second time after winning it in 2012.

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is a Norris Trophy finalist for the second time after finishing third in the voting in 2010. He led the League in ice time (2,377:40) and shot-attempts differential (plus-410). He also had 46 points.

If Subban or Karlsson win, they would join Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith as the only active players to win the Norris Trophy multiple times. Keith, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy this season, won the Norris in 2010 and 2014.

"Since [Canadiens general manager] Marc Bergevin and [coach] Michel Therrien have taken over the team, my game has gone up," Subban told the Montreal Gazette in April. "They've worked really hard to improve my game."

A year ago at this time Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad was preparing to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Now he'll be in Las Vegas as one of three finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy, which goes to the League's top rookie.

Ekblad set Panthers records for a rookie defenseman with 12 goals, 27 assists and 39 points, which were two shy of Bobby Orr's NHL record for points by a defenseman who was 18 years old at the start of the season.

The other finalists are Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau and Senators forward Mark Stone.

Stone and Gaudreau tied for the most points among rookies this season with 64. Stone had 35 points in his final 31 games, including 13 in a nine-game point streak to end the season. Gaudreau led all rookies with 40 assists.

Gaudreau's coach, Bob Hartley, is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award for the League's top coach along with Peter Laviolette of the Predators and Alain Vigneault of the New York Rangers.

For the Rangers' 113-point season, Vigneault's boss, Glen Sather, is up for the General Manager of the Year Award along with Bob Murray of the Ducks and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Kings center Anze Kopitar and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews are up for multiple awards.

Kopitar and Toews are finalists for the Selke Trophy along with Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins. Toews and Bergeron have alternated Selke wins for the past three years, with Bergeron winning last season.

Kopitar, who never has won the Selke, also is a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy along with Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings and Jiri Hudler of the Calgary Flames. Datsyuk won the Lady Byng four years in a row from 2006-09.

Toews also is vying for the Bridgestone Messier Leadership Award, with Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf and Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd.

"His consistency is one thing that sticks out in my mind, his consistent demeanor not only off the ice but on the ice as well," Mark Messier said of Toews during the Stanley Cup Final. "His compete level is incredible. He just seems to be so down to earth and approachable. The things he does off the ice for children in need is just very inspiring."

The other trophies that will be awarded Wednesday are the NHL Foundation Award (finalists: Lundqvist, San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, Flames captain Mark Giordano) and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy (finalists not announced).


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