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First Round

Kucherov upset to sit out Game 3 for Lightning with suspension

NHL regular-season scoring leader will be replaced by Callahan against Blue Jackets

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

COLUMBUS -- Nikita Kucherov certainly is upset that he'll miss the Tampa Bay Lightning's Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SUN, FS-O, SN360, TVAS) because he's serving a one-game suspension.


[RELATED: Complete Lightning vs. Blue Jackets series coverage]


"Yeah, it [stinks]," Kucherov said.

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. The win gave the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead against the Presidents' Trophy winners in the best-of-7 series.

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.

Video: Kucherov suspended one playoff game for boarding

Kucherov will be missing his first game of the season. He played in all 82 regular-season games and led the NHL with 128 points (41 goals, 87 assists). He did not have a point and was a minus-2 in Games 1 and 2.

Forward Ryan Callahan, a heathy scratch in Games 1 and 2, will replace Kucherov.

Callahan has appeared in 119 Stanley Cup Playoff games during his career, scoring 39 points (20 goals, 19 assists). He had 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 52 games this season.

"He's a great player," Kucherov said of Callahan. "He's the type of guy that we need in the playoffs. He's been good for us all year. I think what he brings to the team is huge and we're really happy to see him tonight in the lineup. I wish we could see him more and more. I think he's a [heck] of a player. He plays PK. He plays two-way. He hits people hard, and I think he brings a lot of energy to the team."

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