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John Tavares, Hart Trophy finalist for NHL MVP

He's back.

The man
The man
Elsa/Getty Images

For the second time in three seasons, Islanders captain John Tavares has been named a finalist for the Hart Trophy which is awarded to the NHL's Most Valuable Player.

Washington's Alexander Ovechkin and Montreal goalie Carey Price are the other finalists.

Tavares was also a Hart finalist in 2013 but lost to Ovechkin, who took home his third MVP award.

This season, Tavares led the Islanders with career highs of 38 goals and 48 assists. He played in all 82 games after missing the final months of the previous season with knee surgery. Tavares came within eight seconds (seriously, eight lousy stinkin' seconds) of winning the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer before Dallas' Jamie Benn capped off a four point night on the final game of the season to take the award.

Unfortunately, Tavares' luck isn't likely to change in regards to the Hart voting. The award is most likely Price's to lose, as the Canadiens goalie was lights out all season.

But that shouldn't diminish Tavares' accomplishments during a regular season in which he and his team achieved heights the franchise had not seen since their dynastic heyday. More than once, Tavares displayed the type of magic a first overall pick and face of a franchise should exhibit. Tavares has always given the Islanders everything they've asked for and more and this season, he outpaced nearly the entire league in leading his team to their best season in a couple of generations.

His shotless performance in Game 7 against the Capitals will no doubt leave a sour taste in his mouth all summer. But if he uses that as motivation as he has with other criticism and obstacles in his career, he'll be right back in the Hart and Adams Art Ross finalist circle next season.

EDIT: Hell, nominate him for the Adams Trophy next year as player/coach, too.