On Wednesday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 to win their second straight Stanley Cup championship. The Lightning played complete and total hockey in giving Montreal a gentleman’s sweep (4-1) and now get to celebrate again. One of the key cogs in the Tampa Bay Death Machine the past two seasons is former Wisconsin Badgers defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
This is the second straight season that Wisconsin was guaranteed to have a former player win the Stanley Cup. McDonagh, a native of St. Paul, Minn., has now beaten Stevens Point’s Cole Caufield and Plover’s Joe Pavelski (Dallas Stars) in back-to-back season. He is also, according to Todd Milewski of the Wisconsin State Journal, the sixth UW player to win the Cup at least twice:
McDonagh will be the sixth Badgers alum to get his name engraved on the Stanley Cup at least twice as a player. Three of the previous five also did so in back-to-back years: Brian Engblom (Montreal, 1977-78), Paul Stanton (Pittsburgh, 1991-92) and Justin Schultz (Pittsburgh, 2016-17).
McDonagh had a heck of a playoffs and series against Montreal. Looked to be emotional embracing all the players and staff celebrating a second straight championship. pic.twitter.com/qjFPB0eiUX— Caley Chelios (@CaleyChelios) July 8, 2021
McDonagh recorded an assist in Game 5 which turned out to be extremely important since, you know, only one goal was scored all game. Against Montreal, McDonagh had three assists and was plus-seven while playing over 22 minutes per game. For the playoffs, he had eight points (all assists), which was tied for fifth among all defensemen in the playoffs, and was plus-18, which was the best mark of any player in the playoffs.
What an amazing run for Tampa Bay and McDonagh. Their fans deserve it.