Tampa Loses Nikita Kucherov to Sucker Punch

In Sunday’s win over the Columbus Blue Jackets the Tampa Bay Lightning lost both Nikita Kucherov and Valtteri Filppula to injuries. Head coach Jon Cooper didn’t have an update on either player after the game, but doesn’t expect either to be a long-term injury, reports Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.

Kucherov left the game in the second period following a sucker punch from Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout.

After Nick Foligno tripped Ben Bishop behind the net, there was a scrum. Wrapping up Foligno and looking in a different direction, Kucherov takes a solid gloved punch to the side of the head from Prout.

This may garner a suspension for Prout. We saw something similar with Milan Lucic when he was suspended in January for a sucker punch on Kevin Connauton.

A hearing for this punch will likely bear more resemblance to the Lucic punch than the Wayne Simmonds punch on Ryan McDonagh. Simmonds’s was retaliatory and, though Rangers coach Alain Vigneault called it a “sucker punch,” it wasn’t. As Kerry Fraser noted at the time, “It also can’t be deemed a sucker punch as some have suggested, since both players were actively engaged in a physical confrontation. As such, it is difficult to suggest that McDonagh was unsuspecting of any further response or potential punch from his opponent.”

Here’s a look at the punch.

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Featured photo by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers.

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