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Badgers in the NHL: Joe Pavelski stands alone in American hockey history

The Plover native scored his 61st career playoff goal on Saturday which puts him alone in first place for American-born players in NHL history.

2020 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

When the Dallas Stars absolutely needed a goal to push Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final into overtime and extend their season who else were they going to turn to? Joe Pavelski tied the game at two after a bit of a scramble in front of the Tampa Bay Lightning net which was also his 61st career playoff goal. Dallas went on to win Game 5 thanks to a Corey Perry goal in double overtime.

Goal No. 61 was important personally for Pavelski because it moved him into first place among all American-born hockey players in NHL history ahead of Joe Mullen (New York, N.Y., 60 goals) and Mike Modano (Livonia, Mich., 59 goals).

“It’s fun to be up there with those guys, and we’ll try to keep going,” Pavelski said. “We’ll look at it another day, some other time, I’m not too worried about it right now. We’re trying to get that trophy.”

Pavelski now has 13 goals this postseason which is just one fewer than the 14 goals he scored in 67 games this regular season. The 36-year-old has played 160 NHL postseason games and scored two goals in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers this postseason.

And in case you thought Pavelski was just a goal-scorer, he was also sacrificing his body in overtime to keep Dallas in the series. He had three hits and three blocked shots in the game.

Game 6 is scheduled for Monday night (tonight!) at 7 p.m. CST and Pavelski and the Stars will be trying to, once again, stave off elimination and play one more game.