NHL Player Safety Department announces Tampa Bay striker Nikita Kucherov was suspended a playoff game to embark Columbus defenseman Markus Nutivaara.
Late in the third period with Tampa lagging behind, Kucherov pulls Nutivaara behind the Columbus net. Nutivaara falls in the boards. He is on his knees when Kucherov arrives for a shot. The puck is on Nutivaara's stick before firing, but Kucherov's elbow passes through Nutivaara's head.
The hit resembles Toronto's Nazem Kadri on Tommy Wingels' final match. Kadri was suspended three games.
Losing Kucherov for a match is a blow for Tampa, whose offensive does not have the pace with Columbus. Kucherov has scored 128 points this season (41 goals and 87 assists), an NHL record since Jaromir Jagr scored 161 in 1995-96. Columbus leads the series 2-0.