Nicklas Backstrom given match penalty for cross-checking Rich Peverley

The Washington Capitals lost to the Boston Bruins on Monday night, 4-3, thanks to a late goal from Zdeno Chara.

They also may have lost one of their best players for their next game.

At the end of regulation Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was given a match penalty for cross-checking Boston's Rich Peverley. This is a big deal because a match penalty carries an automatic one-game suspension pending a review by the NHL.

It's not a given that Backstrom will be out for Game 4 on Thursday night, but that possibility is very real depending on what the NHL decides to do. The Capitals spent half of the season playing without Backstrom after he suffered a concussion and they struggled without him.

Capitals coach Dale Hunter seemed to believe after the game that the suspension will be rescinded. "If you see it, it was not that bad," said Hunter.

Bruins coach Claude Julien was upset that this was the third time something similar happened in the series.

"I think it's normal that there's an intensity, and the rivalry is getting better and bigger as we move forward here," said Julien. "We understand that those kind of things will happen. I guess the only thing that's disappointing for me personally is the fact that is the third time in three games that our player's been cross-checked in the face. We saw the one on [David] Krejci was cut in Game 1, [Alex] Ovechkin on [Dennis] Seidenberg in Game 2 and now this Backstrom one. You hope that those things don't get out of hand. I'm going to say the same thing I said last time, someone else has to deal with that and not us and as a coach I'm going to continue to get my team ready for the next game."

Backstrom played nearly 22 minutes on Monday and was credited with an assist. He also had 16 total penalty minutes.

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CBS Sports Writer

Adam Gretz has been writing about the NHL and taking an analytical approach to the game since the start of the 2008 season. A member of the PHWA since 2015, he has spent more than three years covering... Full Bio

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