Kucherov to have hearing for boarding call

Ross Houston
April 14, 2019

Losing Kucherov for a game is a big blow to Tampa, whose offense is not keeping pace with Columbus.

The NHL department of player safety has announced that Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov has been suspended one playoff game for boarding Columbus defender Markus Nutivaara. Victor Hedman and Josh Anderson were also ejected from the game in the ensuing scrum.

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.

Game 3 of the series will be played Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.

Or, as coach Jon Cooper put it: "This is a five-alarm fire".

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

The Blue Jackets are facing top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning, the team that won the Presidents' Trophy for best overall record in the National Hockey League, ending the regular season 62-16.

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

After leading the league in points during the regular season, the Lightning are on the verge of a historically insurmountable first-round series deficit. 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.

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