Published: Mon, April 15, 2019
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

National Hockey League slaps Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov with one-game suspension

National Hockey League slaps Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov with one-game suspension

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.

After a league-leading 128 points in the regular season, Kucherov has been held pointless through two games versus Columbus.

Game 1 and Game 2 took place in Tampa, but the Blue Jackets didn't let home-ice advantage get in their way.

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The NHL's Department of Player Safety made the announcement Saturday afternoon.

Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, who led the National Hockey League with 128 points, was held off the scoresheet for the second consecutive game and picked up tripping, boarding and 10-minute misconduct penalties late in the third period. He had 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 52 games this season.

The DOPS determined that the hit wasn't "excessively violent or forceful", but there were "several factors to elevate the play for supplemental discipline".

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The incident happened in the third period of Columbus's 5-1 win Friday night. He is on his knees when Kucherov comes in for a hit. The DoPS also ruled that Kucherov's hit fell under the category of "message-sending" due to when it occurred.

"While we understand frustration can occur at the end of the game, risky or retaliatory plays delivered in the final minutes of a playoff game will be viewed in context and punished accordingly", the video stated.

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