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Caps' Reirden condemns Lee's hit on Backstrom: 'It was predatory'

Norm Hall / National Hockey League / Getty

Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden called out New York Islanders captain Anders Lee for his hit that knocked Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom out of Game 1 on Wednesday.

"It was a late hit on a player who wasn't expecting it," Reirden said, according to The Washington Post's Samantha Pell. "It was predatory."

Lee caught Backstrom with a hard hit just minutes into the game and was immediately met by Capitals rearguard John Carlson. Lee was handed a minor for interference, while he and Carlson were both assessed roughing penalties in addition.

Carlson also voiced his displeasure with the hit following the contest: “It looked real dirty to me," he said, per Pell.

Islanders bench boss Barry Trotz, who coached Backstrom and the Capitals from 2014-18, came to the defense of his captain.

"Anders is making a hockey play," he said, per The Athletic's Arthur Staple. "I don't know if Nick was ready or not. Anders is a strong guy, the hit was made and they responded, he and Wilson fought and that was probably the end of it. We'll see."

The Islanders netted four unanswered goals - including three in the third period - to win the series opener 4-2.

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