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The team put out a statement disagreeing with the suspension, which read, in part: “This has been a competitive and physical series, and we do not understand why a suspension was imposed in this case while other incidents in this series have not been reviewed.”

As Bruins forward Milan Lucic indicated, this series has been “pretty light” with nasty elements compared to others. But the animosity started to pick up for Game 3, and Hunter accused Boston of targeting Backstrom’s head, a claim Julien vehemently denied.

But that’s a muted concern for Game 4 with Backstrom out of the lineup. Knuble likely will return to the lineup, bringing his Stanley Cup-winning experience and more size and toughness.

Missing Backstrom, Ovechkin said the Caps need to be tighter and “play for each other.” Just like they did during his three-month absence, except with much more at stake.

“I think everybody is stepping up,” forward Marcus Johansson said. “I don’t think there’s many steps left. Everyone knows what is on the line here for us.”