Back in December, Paul Capobianco of the UW's Athletic Communications office posted an interesting question to the uwbadgers.com hockey blog: What if the NHL Badgers all played on the same team? With 20 former Badgers skating for NHL teams at the time, Capobianco was able to outline a plausible roster.
The former Badgers ended up scoring 171 goals in the 82-game regular season, which would make them the second-least-productive team in the league, a shade better than the Minnesota Wild with an average of 2.09 goals per game. But with Brian Elliott between the pipes, they'd still be competitive. Elliott, who played in Madison from 2003 to 2007 and helped lead the Badgers to the 2006 national title, gave up just 1.56 goals per game this season.
Elliott has been even stingier in the playoffs, giving up just five goals in four appearances to help the St. Louis Blues sweep San Jose (shutting out Joe Pavelski, his former teammate and the most prolific of the ex-Badgers with 31 regular-season goals) in the first round of the playoffs. One of hockey's oldest clichés is that a team's success in the playoffs is determined by hot goaltending, and nobody is hotter than Elliott right now.
That's a big change from a year ago, when he was giving up 3.83 goals per game with Colorado, which released him after the season ended. St. Louis signed him to compete for the backup spot in the off-season, and Elliott ended up winning the starter's role. He's the biggest reason the low-scoring Blues are even in the playoffs, let alone playing in the second round.
That's a pretty good reason to jump on the Blues' bandwagon as the Stanley Cup chase heats up.