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Badgers in the NHL: a Wisconsin hockey alum will win the Stanley Cup!

Joe Pavelski’s Dallas Stars will battle Ryan McDonagh’s Tampa Bay Lightning for the coolest trophy in sports.

Dallas Stars v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Five Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

The battle for the ultimate prize in hockey starts on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. CST as the Dallas Stars battle the Tampa Bay Lightning for Lord Stanley’s cup. For Wisconsin Badgers fans it may be hard to choose which team to cheer for since two former UW greats are participating, with Joe Pavelski suiting up for the Stars and Ryan McDonagh playing for the Lightning.

The Stars finished off the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday with a 3-2 OT victory to win their series 4-1. It was the second straight year that a Pavelski-led team bounced Vegas from the playoffs. So far, Pavelski has scored nine goals, including the game tying goal in Game 4 against Vegas, and added five assists in the playoffs. This is the first season that Pavelski hasn’t skated for the San Jose Sharks but on Twitter Sharks fans were still excited that he made it back to the finals. (Sharks fans may also just hate the Golden Knights but still!)

McDonagh and the Lightning dispatched the New York Islanders in six games with a 2-1 overtime victory on Thursday. The former Badgers defenseman blocked two shots in just under 22 minutes of ice time. McDonagh has a goal (a game winner) and four assists so far in the playoffs. I also noticed a number of Rangers fans (McDonagh’s former team) on Twitter cheering him on so what I’m taking away from all this is that Badgers are universally beloved on the ice.

And in other Wisconsin Badgers NHL news, Blake Geoffrion is headed south to Florida.

Men’s hockey head coach Tony Granato is rightfully being elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as a part of the class of 2020. A wonderful honor for a guy who has pretty much done it all in his hockey career as a player and coach.