Playoff Roundup: Blue Jackets Push Lightning to the Brink

Nikita Kucherov suspended 1 game for boarding Markus Nutivaara

2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Nikita Kucherov suspended for one game after 'dangerous' hit in Game 2

Already without Nikita Kucherov (suspension) and Victor Hedman (injury), the Lightning still had enough weapons to mount a comeback in the series starting with Game 3, but the suffocating play of the Blue Jackets kept Tampa's stars quiet.

In Game 3, Matt Duchene began the scoring for the Blue Jackets with a second-period goal.

The NHL-best Lightning now face the tall task of climbing out of an 0-2 series deficit without the help of their best player and the league's likely Hart Trophy victor. Bjorkstrand went over Andrei Vasilevskiy's head from the right circle on a power play for a 2-0 Columbus lead at 8:25, with rookie Alexandre Texier picking up his first National Hockey League assist.

Sergei Bobrovsky got the win to improve to 2-0-0 in the postseason after stopping 23 of 24 shots faced in the victory while Andrei Vasilevskiy took the L, falling to 0-2-0 after allowing all 5 goals on 27 shots faced in the losing effort. But the Lighting couldn't muster any more, and Atkinson connected on an empty-netter with a minute left in the game.

The Lightning seemed to have everything in their favor heading into the playoffs, but found themselves entering Game 3 with a two-game hole, their top scorer suspended and their top defenseman injured. Columbus signed D Vladislav Gavrikov on Saturday but he's not cleared to play yet because his visa is pending.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are headed home with a big lead in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Multiple fans tweeted that they were done with the Lightning after another disappointing playoff performance against the Blue Jackets. Columbus has scored four power-play goals in the series.

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