National Hockey League slaps Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov with one-game suspension

Columbus Blue Jackes v Tampa Bay Lightning- Game One

Columbus Blue Jackes v Tampa Bay Lightning- Game One

The Tampa Bay Lightning will be eager to turn things around after the Presidents' Trophy winners enter game three down 2-0 in the series after Columbus picked up a 5-1 win in game two on Friday.

The Lightning outscored Columbus 17-3 in winning all three meetings in the regular season. Now, Kucherov was not given a match penalty, so a "five and a game" situation is not required, but it could be coming.

But Victor Hedman didn't want anyone on the Blue Jackets to get too comfortable taking a two-game edge.

The NHL announced Kucherov will be having a hearing related to his hit on Saturday.

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Kucherov's hit was eerily similar to one delivered by Toronto Maple Leafs centre Nazem Kadri on then-Bruins forward Tommy Wingels during Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

He escaped a suspension for that controversial hit on defenseman Sami Vatanen, but it's possible this one could be considered more serious which could result in him missing Game 3. He has zero points through two games against Columbus though, with Steven Stamkos (98 points during the regular season-45 goals, 53 assists) and Brayden Point (92 points during the regular season-41 goals, 51 assists) each also putting up doughnuts in the scoring column for Tampa Bay thus far in the series. However, outside of the first period in the series, the Blue Jackets have outplayed the Lightning for the remaining five periods, and game two wasn't close from the get-go.

Kucherov has yet to record a point in the series that changed dramatically when Columbus scored four unanswered goals en route to a 4-3 victory in Game 1. He led the National Hockey League in both assists and points.

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