Joe Pavelski probably isn't even one of the first five names a Badger hockey fan can name off the 2006 National Championship team, but he's quietly made a name for himself with the San Jose Sharks and he's been having a hell of a playoffs so far.
Pavs was the difference for the Sharks in their series-clinching win over Colorado last weekend. He scored the goal that forced overtime as well as scoring the OT game-winner. Over the course of six games, Pavelski has eight points in his first NHL post-season.
But Pavelski isn't the only former Badger doing well in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In tonight's Western conference semi-finals, it looked more like the San Jose Badgers as Pavelski scored a goal that was followed about a minute later with a goal by teammate and former Badger Dany Heatley. It was Heatley's first playoff goal, though he contributed four assists in the Sharks' opening series and has missed playing time due to an undisclosed injury.
On the opposite side of the puck in this series is former Badger and Olympic silver medalist Brian Rafalski. Rafalski has also had his ice time limited by injury but managed to add five assists during the Red Wings opening series.
Madison native Adam Burish missed most of the Chicago Blackhawks season with a knee injury and has only seen limited time as he's eased back in to skating with the team.
Brian Eliott won the starting job in net for the Ottawa Senators as their other goalie suffered from a number of freak injuries. By the time his competition was ready to return, Brian had already won the starting job. And while he started the playoffs strongly, even being named Washington's top performer in game 2 with a .94 save %, he was pulled from the starter's role for the Sens final two playoff games.
Madison native Ryan Suter's Nashville Predators were knocked out of the first round by the Blackhawks