Lightning star Nikita Kucherov suspended one game

Kucherov could face suspension for hit on Nutivaara

Nikita Kucherov suspended 1 game for boarding Markus Nutivaara

Since leading Game 1 3-0 at the end of the first period, the Tampa Bay Lightning have been outscored 9-1 by the Columbus Blue Jackets and are down 0-2 in the series. Kucherov was the one to initially trip Nutivaara to the ice, and while Nutivaara attempted to regain his footing, he remained in a defenseless position until Kucherov drove him into the boards. Victor Hedman and Josh Anderson were also ejected from the game in the ensuing scrum.

Tampa Bay is 45-14 in their last 59 games overall and 41-16 in their last 57 road games while the over is 10-3 in their last 13 games against the Eastern Conference.

The NHL announced Kucherov will be having a hearing related to his hit on Saturday. Cooper said he's not expected to return for Game 3.

The Presidents' Trophy winning Lightning will have to try to win in Columbus on Sunday without the player who put up a league-best 128 points during the season.

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Now, Kucherov is not known as a dirty player and has not been hit with a suspension before for such a hit, but in last year's playoffs he faced one when the Lightning took on the Devils.

Matt Duchene's four points led Columbus to a 5-1 win in Tampa on Friday.

The Blue Jackets, who have never won a playoff series, coughed up a 2-0 series deficit to the eventual Cup champion Washington Capitals a year ago. Kucherov scored 128 points this season (41 goals and 87 assists), the most the National Hockey League has seen since Jaromir Jagr scored 161 in 1995-96.

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