Bolts' Hedman out for Game 3 vs. Jackets

Bolts' Hedman out for Game 3 vs. Jackets

Superstar forward Nikita Kucherov has been suspended for Game 3 of the Tampa Bay Lightning's first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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

However, Kucherov refused to answer questions about the boarding infraction on Blue Jackets defenseman Markus Nutivaara with 4:26 remaining in Columbus' 5-1 win in Game 2 at Amalie Arena on Friday that led to his one-game suspension. 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.

Chirping and trash talking are part of sports, and there's no doubt frustration set in for the Lightning, which stunningly fell into a 0-2 hole in this-best-of-seven series ("A five-alarm fire", as coach Jon Cooper put it). A 48-point scorer during the regular season, with five power play goals, Gourde scored a goal in Game 1 last Wednesday night.

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Kucherov will be missing his first game of the season.

"It's just unfortunate it's at the expense of Kuch", Callahan said of his opportunity. He's been good for us all year. 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.

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.