Datsyuk, Pominville, St. Louis are Lady Byng finalists

Pavel Datsyuk could become the first player in more than 70 years to capture the Lady Byng Trophy in three consecutive seasons.

The Detroit Red Wings center, who won the award in 2006 and 2007, is one of three finalists for the trophy, awarded annually to the player who "exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."

Buffalo Sabres right wing Jason Pominville and Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis, who was runner-up to Datsyuk last season, are the other two finalists.

New York Rangers forward Frank Boucher was the last player to win the Lady Byng Trophy three straight years, from 1933 through 1935. Boucher, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, won the award seven times in eight seasons.

Datsyuk scored a career-high 97 points (31 goals, 66 assists) and finished fourth in the NHL scoring race. He led all NHL players with a plus-41 rating and became only the fourth Red Wing to lead his team in scoring in three consecutive seasons, joining Ted Lindsay, Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman.

St. Louis, a Lady Byng finalist for the third time, scored 80 points for the third time in the past four seasons and was second on the Lightning in scoring with 25 goals and 58 assists. He tied for the team lead in power-play goals with 10 and led all NHL forwards in average ice time, with an average of 24 minutes, 17 seconds per game.

Pominville scored 42 of his career-high 80 points (27 goals, 53 assists) over the Sabres' final 34 games, leading a late playoff push that fell just short for Buffalo. Twenty-five of Pominville's 27 goals came at even strength or shorthanded.

The finalists are the top three vote-getters in a ballot of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. The winner will be announced during the 2008 NHL awards show, to be held Thursday, June 12 in Toronto.

The trophy was originally donated by and is named for Lady Marie Byng, whose husband was Governor General of Canada from 1921-26. The couple were hockey fans and regularly attended Ottawa Senators games.