The Washington Capitals will be without one of their best players for Game 4 against the Boston Bruins, as sniper Nicklas Backstrom was handed a one-game suspension on Tuesday night for a cross-checking incident.

The league's department of player safety made the announcement in a press release, after the forward had a hearing earlier in the day with the NHL's head of discipline Brendan Shanahan.

Backstrom nailed Bruins forward Rich Peverley in the face at the end of regulation during their 4-3 Game 3 loss on Monday night and was given a match penalty for the intent to injure.

Washington coach Dale Hunter said earlier Tuesday that Backstrom "was trying to protect his face" because Peverley had his stick raised. He also said that the Bruins have been going after the head of Backstrom, who returned to Washington's lineup March 31 after missing half the regular season because of a concussion.

Earlier in the evening, Shanahan announced Pittsburgh Penguins forwards James Neal and Arron Asham were suspended for one and four games, respectively.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie Andrew Shaw was penalized for three games after nailing Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith during Game 2 of their series on Saturday night.

A busy Shanahan has handed out a total of eight suspensions during the 2012 playoffs.

Game 4 is slated for Thursday in Washington (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7:30 p.m. ET).

With files from The Associated Press