Tampa Bay Lightning'S Nikita Kucherov suspended for one game

LeBrun Lightning’s Verbeek Blue Jackets’ Zito on the rise in the NHL management circuit

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.

"Yeah, it sucks", Kucherov said of the suspension.

Blue Jackets: 9-1-0, averaging 3.7 goals, 5.3 assists, 1.4 penalties and 3.1 penalty minutes while giving up 2.1 goals per game with a.923 save percentage.

He replied "next question" when asked if he had addressed the play with his teammates and again when he was about to be asked another question about the hit.

Mikhail Sergachev had a goal and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots for the Lightning, who lost two games in a row just twice in the regular season.

Game 3 is Sunday in Columbus. "Last year you were up 2-0 too". With the lineup reshuffling, Game 1 and 2 healthy scratch Ryan Callahan (17 points during the regular season) looks sure to play in Game 3.

Kucherov, who led the league in scoring with 128 points (41 goals, 87 assists), is the favorite for the Hart Trophy, given to the league's MVP. "He's the type of guy that we need in the playoffs". But Tiger in the hunt for real makes this must see TV, so I'll take a quick minute to post the day's free play and then back to Augusta. He plays PK. He plays two-way.

Mathew Barzal had two assists in a chippy, physical game that featured a lot of hard hits and some skirmishes, especially in the first two periods - and also after the final buzzer.