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Lightning's Kucherov suspended 1 game for boarding Blue Jackets' Nutivaara

Nikita Kucherov’s frustration got the best of him and now it has cost the Tampa Bay Lightning their best player as they try to fight back from a 2-0 series deficit to Columbus in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

NHL scoring champion to miss Sunday's contest at Columbus with Tampa trailing 2-0 in series

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov warms up before Game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals hockey playoff series against the Washington Capitals on May 23, 2018. (Chris O'Meara/Associated Press)

Nikita Kucherov's frustration got the best of him and now it has cost the Tampa Bay Lightning their best player as they try to fight back from a 2-0 series deficit to Columbus in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

With 4:26 remaining in Friday night's 5-1 home loss in Game 2, Kucherov tripped Nutivaara, who slid into the boards. As the Blue Jackets defenceman tried to get back on his feet, Kucherov hit him into the boards again.

The Lightning forward, who led the NHL with 128 points during the regular season, was assessed a two-minute tripping penalty, five minutes for boarding and a game misconduct.

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said he didn't see the hit and had intentionally not reviewed it before his post-game news conference.

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.

Not-so-special teams

The Lightning also could be without banged-up Norris Trophy calibre defenceman Victor Hedman, who did not practice
Saturday.

Cooper says he hopes Hedman can play. But Kucherov is out after what the NHL called a "dangerous hit on a player in an exposed position."

On Friday, the Blue Jackets built a 3-0 advantage and never looked back as Tampa, which boasted the league's best power play in the regular campaign, has failed to convert five chances with the man advantage in the series and has three goals in six short-handed situations.

WATCH | Blue Jackets stun Lightning, take 2-0 series lead:

Matt Duchene's four points led Columbus to a 5-1 win in Tampa on Friday. 1:46
The Lightning outscored Columbus 17-3 in winning all three meetings in the regular season.

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.

Matt Duchene, who struggled offensively following a late-season trade from Ottawa, led the Columbus attack on Friday with a goal and three assists.

With files from The Associated Press

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