Nicklas Backstrom has been suspended one game for cross checking Boston forward Rich Peverley in the head at the conclusion of Game 3 Monday night. The play was deemed “excessive and reckless” by the NHL’s department of player safety.
Backstrom received a match penalty, which made him subject to an automatic suspension pending review by the league, for pushing his stick into Peverley’s face after time expired in Game 3. Following a hearing with the Capitals center on Tuesday afternoon, Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s vice president of player safety, opted to uphold the ban.
That Backstrom will miss Game 4 of the series on Thursday is a significant blow to Washington, which trails the Bruins 2-1 in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
In a video explanation on NHL.com, Shanahan explains that he took into consideration that Peverley was not injured on the play and that Backstrom has no prior supplemental disciplinary history. Shanahan detailed that while Peverley does raise his stick toward Backstrom’s face, the center’s aggression in reaction went overboard.
“Even though Backstrom might have felt threatened by Peverley’s stick, the fact is Peverley is in a defensive stance and it is Backstrom who is approaching him,” Shanahan said. “Backstrom’s reaction is excessive and reckless.
As the Capitals learned during Backstrom’s 40-game absence because of a concussion this season, his presence in the lineup is not easily replaced. Washington did grow accustomed to playing without the 24-year-old Swede, though, and it will need to rally again without him.
More from Post Sports:
— Feinstein: Series getting chippy
— Caps-Bruins Game 3 shot chart
— Hunter: Bruins targeting Backstrom’s head
— Bruins puzzled by cross check
— Backstrom receives match penalty