Pittsburgh Penguins captain Crosby is a finalist this season despite missing the last dozen games of the regular season due to a fractured jaw. He scored 15 goals and 41 assists in 36 games and was only overtaken for the NHL scoring lead in the final week of the season, finishing fourth overall in points.
Washington captain Ovechkin started the season slowly with the struggling Capitals, but set a torrid pace over the final two months. He led the league with 32 goals to win his third “Rocket” Richard Trophy, and was tied with Crosby at 56 points. He was officially third due to a greater goal total.
Tavares of the New York Islanders was third in the NHL with 28 goals and recorded a team-leading 47 points as the New York Islanders made the playoffs for the first time in six years. He added nine power-play goals and five game winners to earn his first Hart nomination at the age of 22.
The 25-year-old Crosby is up for the award for a third time and won the Hart in 2006-07. Ovechkin — a four-time nominee — took the honour in each of the following two seasons.
All three of the finalists are former No. 1 draft picks.
The voting is undertaken by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
Crosby and Ovechkin, 27, are also finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the outstanding player as voted on by the players.
The NHL is rolling out its award nominee list this week and next, and will announce the winners at some point during the Stanley Cup Final.