Not only is the Tampa Bay Lightning in a stunning 2-0 hole to the Blue Jackets as their first-round series heads to Columbus, but the Bolts will also be without their best player when they hit the ice for Game 3.
Tampa now is fighting from behind, with the Blue Jackets taking a commanding 2-0 series lead in Friday night's Game 2 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He had 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 52 games this season.
On Wednesday, Columbus took the first win of the series.
It looks like Yanni Gourde will move up and to be one of Stamkos' flanks on the Lightning's top line Sunday night.
Mikhail Sergachev had a goal and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots for the Lightning, who lost two games in a row just twice in the regular season.
Forward Ryan Callahan, a heathy scratch in Games 1 and 2, will replace Kucherov. A 48-point scorer during the regular season, with five power play goals, Gourde scored a goal in Game 1 last Wednesday night. His absence would be another notable one, but there's some optimism he'll play Game 3.
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. The DOPS determined that on the play, Kucherov skated toward the "defenseless Nutivaara, lowered himself for contact, and drives him into the boards", according to a video explanation released on Saturday.