Blue Jackets on brink of sweeping Lightning after Game 3 win

Nikita Kucherov suspended 1 game for boarding Markus Nutivaara

They'll be in Columbus on Sunday to play Game 3.

The No. 2 wild card in the Eastern Conference, Columbus went to Tampa Bay and earned a pair of wins against the Presidents' Trophy-winning team - rallying from a 3-0 first-period Game 1 deficit to win 4-3 on Wednesday and then dominating from the outset in Friday's Game 2.

Tampa Bay finally scored at 4:40 of the third period when Palat put in his own rebound to make it 2-1.

Kucherov, who has been without a point in both losses, does not have a history of dirty play but lashed out at the vulnerable Nutivaara anyway - evidence of Tampa Bay's mounting frustration after a great season. The Blue Jackets last won a home playoff game on April 18, 2017. He has been held off the scoresheet through two games of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

One of the reasons why the betting line for Game 3 (and the series price) was delayed is that the league was reviewing a dirty hit by Nikita Kucherov in Game 2.

"As far as I know, we're playing Tuesday, so were still alive", he said. Max Pacioretty had a goal and an assist, defenseman Shea Theodore had three assists and Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves.

The difference there was that Columbus won the first two games in overtime, so the margins were much closer.

Kevin Labanc, Logan Couture and Tim Meier scored for San Jose, and Martin Jones stopped 34 shots.

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The Pistons and Bucks will return to the court for Game 2 on Wednesday night - that game will air on NBATV at 8:00pm ET. The Bucks have performed better in almost every conceivable way, and Budenholzer's schemes and coaching are behind it.

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Columbus also got goals from Cam Atkinson, Zach Werenski, Riley Nash and Artemi Panarin.

Matt Duchene scored for the second game in a row for his second-ever postseason goal and has five points in the last two games.

Brandon Tanev and Dustin Byfuglien also scored for the Jets, who got 26 saves from Connor Hellebuyck. Game 4 will be Tuesday in St. Louis.

The Blue Jackets settled things down from there for a bit and almost scored when Atkinson set up Ryan Dzingel with a breakaway chance, but under pressure he could not beat Vasilevskiy.

Brock Nelson added his second goal of the playoffs, and Leo Komarov scored the first postseason goal of his career for the Islanders, who have pushed the star-laden Penguins to the brink of elimination.

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

Tampa Bay is 45-14 in their last 59 games overall and 41-16 in their last 57 road games while the over is 10-3 in their last 13 games against the Eastern Conference.

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