Hunter thinks Backstrom’s cross-check “wasn’t that bad”

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Longer-term history would indicate that Nicklas Backstrom won’t be suspended for a late cross-check that generated a match penalty in Game 3, although Craig Adams’ one-game suspension makes it a more interesting question. Washington Capitals coach Dale Hunter appears confident that he’ll have the talented Swede in the lineup, as he told media members such as Sky Kerstein.

Hunter said that he expects the league to review the situation – a requirement to avoid an automatic suspension – and for the NHL to rescind the match penalty. Hunter opined that “it wasn’t that bad.”

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Not too surprisingly, Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien was less-than-thrilled. Stephen Whyno reports that Julien claims this was “the third time in three games” that a Capitals player delivered a cross-check to a Bruins player’s face.

Whether Backstrom plays in Game 4 or not, it seems like there will be quite a bit more tension in the air in DC and then Boston as this series goes along.