The Pearson Award is for the league's "most outstanding player" as picked by fellow NHL players. The Hart goes to the player selected as the most valuable to his team in voting by media.
The announcement of the Pearson finalists on Wednesday assures it will be awarded to a Russian player for the third time. Sergei Fedorov won it in 1994, and Ovechkin took both last year.
The winner will be revealed June 18 at the NHL awards show in Las Vegas.
Ovechkin, who led the league with 56 goals this season and finished four points shy of the scoring title, was also a Pearson finalist in 2006.
Malkin, a finalist for both the Hart and Pearson last year, has already won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in scoring with 113 points.
Datsyuk, fourth in scoring with 97 points, is also a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship and the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward, both of which he won last year.