Tampa Bay Lightning Nikita Kucherov Suspended One Game

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Nikita Kucherov suspended
TAMPA, FL - MARCH 02: Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) during the NHL Hockey match between the Lightning and Senators on March 2, 2019 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced that Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov has been suspended for one game. This is his first career suspension.

Nikita Kucherov Suspended One Game

Kucherov has been suspended for one game and for an incident with Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Markus Nutivaara. With less than five minutes remaining in Game 2, Kucherov tripped Nutivaara. Then, as Nutivaara was getting up Kucherov, checked him into the boards. Kucherov was assessed a minor for tripping, a major for boarding and game misconduct on the play.

This season, Kucherov finished the league with 41 goals and 87 assists for 128 points. He also added 62 minutes in penalties. His possession numbers were 52.6 percent Corsi with a relative Corsi of +2.2 percent. Those 87 assists and 128 points led the NHL.

Kucherov has spent his entire six-year career with the Lightning. He has put up 188 goals and 274 assists for 462 career points in 447 career games. He was originally drafted in the second round, 58th overall of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Bolts.

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. They also could be without banged-up Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman Victor Hedman, who did not practice Saturday.

What This Means for the Future

This is a huge loss for the Bolts as they are already down two games in the series to the Blue Jackets. Without Kucherov in the line-up, Tampa Bay will look to lean more on Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point in Game 3. Kucherov was a key part of the Bolts power play unit which was tops in the league during the regular season. So far in this series, Tampa has yet to score with the man advantage.

The Bolts are also without Ryan Callahan who missed the first two games with an undisclosed injury and his status for Game 3 is still unknown. If Callahan can’t go in Game 3 expect Danick Martel to slot into the lineup for the Bolts. Martel had two assists in nine games this season for Tampa Bay.

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