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Ryan Hollweg has received four game misconducts over his last 41 games. ((Dave Sandford/Getty Images))

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ryan Hollweg received an automatic three-game suspension without pay from the NHL on Wednesday.

The announcement came after Hollweg was given a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct for a hit from behind on St. Louis's Alex Pietrangelo in Monday's 5-4 shootout loss to the Blues.

The suspension was automatic because Hollweg has received four game misconducts over his last 41 games, dating back to the 2007-08 season when he was with the New York Rangers.

If Hollweg gets another game misconduct for boarding, checking from behind or certain stick infractions, he'll automatically be suspended for four games.

"Basically, I was just following him pretty much shoulder to shoulder, kind of angling him towards the boards," Hollweg said after practice Wednesday. "I felt if he had continued to skate forward it would have just been a rub-out play and play would have continued. I felt he turned back and with that kind of speed and momentum it's hard to change gears in a split second like that.

"I was going to the boards hard myself and wasn't intending to hit him from behind. I was just trying to rub him out and cut his angle off. That's the way I saw the play develop."

In 201 career NHL games, Hollweg has 12 points (five goals) and 326 penalty minutes.

He'll forfeit $18,750 US in salary before being eligible to return Oct. 23 against the Boston Bruins.

With files from the Canadian Press