There’s no curse associated with EA Sports’ NHL series, although Stamkos’ team isn’t in the Stanley Cup Playoffs
Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin captured his second career Art Ross Trophy as the National Hockey League’s scoring champion, Tampa Bay Lightning center and NHL 12 cover athlete Steven Stamkos claimed his second Maurice Richard Trophy as the League’s goal-scoring leader, and St. Louis Blues goaltenders Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak combined to win their first William Jennings Trophy as the goaltenders on the club allowing the fewest goals during the 2011-12 regular season. The four trophy winners will be honored at the 2012 NHL Awards, which will be held Wednesday, June 20 at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Malkin finished the 2011-12 regular season with a League-leading 109 points (50-59--109), ahead of Stamkos (60-37--97) and Philadelphia Flyers right wing Claude Giroux (28-65--93) for the Art Ross Trophy, the second of his career (2008-09). Malkin is the third repeat winner in Penguins franchise history, joining Mario Lemieux (six times) and Jaromir Jagr(five). He registered points in 60 of the 75 games he played in (80%) and became the first player since 1995-96 to record five or more points at least four times in one season. Malkin also finished second in the NHL with a career-high 50 goals and led the League with 339 shots on goal. He is first scoring champion to win by a double-digit margin since Jagr finished 20 points ahead of Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne in 1998-99 (127-107).
Stamkos scored 60 goals to capture his second Maurice Richard Trophy (2009-10), finishing ahead of Malkin (50) and New York Rangers right wing Marian Gaborik (41). Stamkos scored his 60th goal in Tampa Bay's season finale Saturday at Winnipeg, becoming the first player to score 60 goals since 2007-08 (Ovechkin, 65); before Ovechkin, the last time a player hit 60 was 1995-96 (Mario Lemieux, 69; Jaromir Jagr, 62). He tied for the League lead with Phoenix's Radim Vrbata in game-winning goals (12) and scored an NHL-record five overtime goals. Stamkos totaled 48 even-strength scores, the most of any player since 1992-93. He has 156 goals since the start of the 2009-10 season, 36 more than the next-closest player (Alex Ovechkin, 120).
Elliott and Halak sparkled on a St. Louis team that allowed the fewest goals in the NHL (165), capturing their first William Jennings Trophy and the second in Blues history (1999-2000, Roman Turek). The duo combined for a League-high 15 shutouts, tying a modern NHL record set by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1969-70 and surpassing the club mark of 13 set by Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante in 1968-69. Elliott (nine) and Halak (six) also are the first tandem in NHL history to record at least six shutouts apiece in the same season.
Elliott led the NHL with a 1.56 goals-against average and .940 save percentage. He set franchise records with nine shutouts and a 241:33 shutout streak, also personal bests. His three consecutive shutouts March 22-27 equaled the franchise mark set by Greg Millen in 1988-89. Halak ranked fifth in the NHL with a 1.97 goals-against average and posted a .926 save percentage. He won a career-high eight consecutive decisions, including six straight on the road, Feb. 23 – March 11.
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