Especially after the whistle, things got very heated for the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins in Game 3 on Monday night. But the most talked-about moment among all that came after the Bruins wrapped up the 4-3 victory, when Nicklas Backstrom cross-checked Rich Peverley in the face.
Backstrom was given a match penalty, which carries with it an automatic one-game suspension, at least until the NHL reviews it.
“They give him a match, but I think the league will review it and rescind it,” Caps coach Dale Hunter said. “If you see it, it’s not bad.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien did not feel the same way, referencing similar incidents from Game 1 involving Jay Beagle and David Krejci and from Game 2 involving Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Seidenberg.
“I think it’s normal that there’s some intensity. The rivalry is getting better and bigger as we move forward here. You understand that those kind of things are going to happen,” Julien said. “I guess the only thing that’s a little disappointing for me is the fact that this is the third time in three games that our players have been cross-checked in the face.”
It appeared as if Backstrom took exception to Peverley taking down Alex Ovechkin as time was expired.
He did not specifically address the match penalty because reporters did not learn of it until leaving the locker room. But he was asked about the extracurricular activities and what the Caps needed to do about it.
“Maybe just stay out of that,” he said. “That’s probably the easiest way.”
Backstrom, who took two cross-checking penalties during the game, was then asked if staying out of things was easier said than done.
“Yeah, absolutely there’s a lot of emotion involved and stuff like that,” Backstrom said. “We’ve got to handle it better.”
The NHL will look at the play in question and decide whether to uphold or rescind the match penalty and ensuing suspension.