Lightning's Kucherov suspended for Game 3

Kucherov could face suspension for hit on Nutivaara

The game was already out of hand Friday, another deflating Lightning loss, when defenseman Victor Hedman approached the Columbus bench to have the final word.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Columbus Blue Jackets meet in game three of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal matchup in National Hockey League action from the Nationwide Arena on Sunday night.

The hit may not have been intentionally high as Nutivaara went down to his knees, but Kucherov clearly hit him heavy to the head when he sent him to the boards. Kucherov was given a major penalty and ejected for hitting Nutivaara in a defenseless position with 4:26 remaining in the lopsided defeat.

It was a game misconduct though so he was automatically ejected.

Twenty-two players made their way onto the ice for practice Saturday morning before an afternoon flight to Columbus. His absence would be another notable one, but there's some optimism he'll play Game 3.

Now, Kucherov is not known as a dirty player and has not been hit with a suspension before for such a hit, but in last year's playoffs he faced one when the Lightning took on the Devils. 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.

Kucherov has zero points through the first two games of the series.

Last year, the Blue Jackets went up 2-0 in the first round against Washington on the road before the Capitals won four straight and rolled on a Stanley Cup championship.

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