Zdeno Chara, as expected, was named one of the three finalists yesterday for the Norris Trophy, given to the league's top defenseman. And with the way he finished the season, he may just have the legs to win it for the second time in three years.

The Bruins captain finished 19th in scoring among defensemen with 14-30-44 totals, and he was first in the league in plus-minus with a plus-33. From Jan. 1 to the end of the regular season, Chara had 9-19-28 totals and was a plus-18.

"It's obviously a big honor, and I'm very humbled and very thankful," Chara said after practice yesterday at the Garden. "Especially after you consider how many guys had such a great season, a breakout season. I'm just very thankful that people who did vote recognized the definition of the Norris Trophy award.

"And obviously a big thank you goes to all the people who helped me to get there, especially my teammates, all the organization, and obviously my family and fans."

The other candidates, Nashville's Shea Weber and Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom, both had more points (48 and 62, respectively). In addition, Weber was a plus-7 and Lidstrom a minus-2, the first time in his Hall of Fame career that the Red Wings defenseman has been a minus.

In two of the most important games down the stretch, Chara was at his best. After the team lost 6-of-7 games, he was instrumental in stopping the slide with a 1-2-3 night in a 4-1 win against the Devils on March 22. Two nights later, with the Canadiens still threatening to overtake the B's for the lead in the Northeast Division, Chara had three assists and was a plus-3 in the 7-0 rout of the Habs.