Lightning star Kucherov suspended for Game 3

Lightning star Kucherov suspended for Game 3

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov has been suspended one game after boarding Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Markus Nutivaara on Friday night during Game 2 of the teams' first-round series.

The NHL's Department of Player Safety made the announcement Saturday afternoon.

"I think we should still have a sour taste in our mouth from past year", said winger Cam Atkinson, who scored the first goal for Columbus in the 5-1 rout of Tampa Bay on Friday. He was also assessed a minor penalty for tripping Nutivaara seconds before the boarding incident. His absence would be another notable one, but there's some optimism he'll play Game 3. They'll be in Columbus on Sunday to play Game 3.

After a league-leading 128 points in the regular season, Kucherov has been held pointless through two games versus Columbus.

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The WTO will ultimately determine the amounts of damages that both sides would be allowed to claim in the two cases. The case has been in litigation for 14 years.

The league ruled that Nutivaara was in an "exposed and defenseless" position when Kucherov delivered a risky hit that drove him into the boards.

The suspension comes as the Lightning are down 0-2 in the series. "While we understand that frustration often occurs at the end of a game, unsafe or retaliatory plays delivered in the final minutes of a playoff game will be viewed in context and punished accordingly". 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.

However, through two games of the first round Kucherov has yet to record a point.

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