Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh help New York Rangers advance to NHL Stanley Cup Final

Scott Levy - National Hockey League via Getty Images

After defeating the Montreal Canadiens in six games, Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh and the New York Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Badgers are back in the Stanley Cup Final. After eliminating the Montreal Canadiens in six games, Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh and the New York Rangers are heading to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994.

McDonagh and Stepan played starring roles for the Rangers in the conference final. McDonagh, who was originally drafted in the first round by Montreal in the 2007 NHL Draft, registered a team-high 10 points in the six-game series.

Stepan was quite the storyline himself, suffering a broken jaw in game three when Brandon Prust hit the former Wisconsin center with a check that resulted in a two-game suspension. Stepan required surgery on his broken jaw to insert a metal plate into his face. After sitting out game four, Stepan miraculously returned to the lineup just four days after surgery for game five, and went on to score two goals.

The game Stepan missed for surgery on his broken jaw was the first the Hastings, Minn., native has missed in his four-year NHL career. I think this is the point in the article where I'm suppose to remind you he's a hockey player (#hockeyplayer).

Neither McDonagh nor Stepan have won a Stanley Cup. The duo's careers overlapped in Madison where they reached the NCAA title game as teammates in 2010 before falling to Boston College.

In the process of eliminating the Canadiens, the Rangers also knocked former Wisconsin winger Rene Bourque out of the playoffs. Bourque was quite the story himself, scoring just nine goals in 63 regular season games but chipping in eight in 17 playoff games, including a hat trick in game five when Montreal was facing elimination.

Overall, the Badgers are dominating the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. So far former Wisconsin hockey players have combined for 19 goals and 37 assists for 56 points. The next closest NCAA school, Michigan, has registered just 36 points thus far.

It remains to be seen who the Rangers will play in the final. Chicago and Los Angeles are still playing in the Western Conference final. The Kings currently lead the series, 3-2, with game six taking place in L.A. Friday night.

Update, Saturday, 8:52 a.m.: After the Blackhawks rallied to a 4-3 victory in Game 6, the Western Conference Final move to a deciding Game 7 Sunday in Chicago.

For more hockey coverage, follow Andy on Twitter --
You can also reach Andy via e-mail (AndyJohnsonB5Q@gmail.com)

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