NEW YORK (AP) - Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom has been suspended by the NHL for one game after cross-checking Boston Bruins forward Rich Peverley at the end of Game 3 in their first-round series on Monday night.
Backstrom was given a match penalty for attempt to injure, which carried an automatic suspension.
Washington coach Dale Hunter said earlier Tuesday that Backstrom "was trying to protect his face" because Peverley had his stick raised. He also said that the Bruins have been going after the head of Backstrom, who returned to Washington's lineup March 31 after missing half the regular season because of a concussion.
Boston won Monday's game 4-3 after scoring in the final two minutes for a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 is Thursday in Washington.
Backstrom was one of several players suspended by the NHL on Tuesday; a list that also included James Neal and Arron Asham of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks.