Minor re-signing to announce – the Washington Capitals have inked backup goalie Dany Sabourin to a one-year contract.
We’ll go ahead and assume it’s a two-way deal for the 31-year-old that spent most of the season with Hershey of the AHL before backing up Braden Holtby in four postseason games.
For now, Holtby and Michal Neuvirth are expected to compete for the starting job with the big club.
As previously reported, netminder Michal Neuvirth was scheduled to see a doctor Friday afternoon after suffering a lower body injury on Thursday. The results of that examination aren’t known, but it looks like Neuvirth probably won’t play on Saturday. The Washington Capitals summoned Dany Sabourin Friday night so that he would be available for Saturday’s game.
With Tomas Vokoun also sidelined, the Capitals are projected to start Braden Holtby and use Dany Sabourin as their backup. In other words, Washington will finish out the season with the AHL Hershey Bears’ goaltending tandem.
Washington will play the first place New York Rangers on Saturday in a game that will be a playoff preview if the Rangers win. If Washington wins and the Florida Panthers lose in regulation time, then Washington will claim the Southeast Division and the third seed. In that scenario, they will have home ice advantage against the New Jersey Devils in the first round. Alternatively, If Washington wins, Florida picks up at least one point in their season finale, and Ottawa loses in regulation time, then the Capitals will take the seventh seed and play the Boston Bruins in the first round.
The New York Rangers have already locked up the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but they’re still fighting for the Presidents’ Trophy. A win against the Capitals on Saturday would lock it up, not to mention ensure that they start the playoffs against a team that might have two injured goalies going into the first round.
According to the Washington Post’s Katie Carrera, the Washington Capitals have called up goaltender Dany Sabourin to warm the bench on Saturday, which is a good indication of how far along Michal Neuvirth is in his recovery from a lower body injury. Neuvirth has missed four straight days of practice, although he was on the ice after the Capitals practice to take some shots.
Fortunately, Tomas Vokoun has led the Capitals to back-to-back overtime wins in Neuvirth’s absence and he’ll be in a good position to bring his record up to 3-0-0 against the lowly Ottawa Senators. Vokoun and Neuvirth entered the season in a fierce battle for the number one job with the Washington Capitals and Neuvirth’s injury has allowed Vokoun to start in a string of games.
If Neuvirth is able to return in the near future, then the damage to his standing with the Capitals will be minimal. Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau hasn’t seemed overly worried about Neuvirth’s health to this point, but the longer this drags on, the more opportunities Vokoun will have to set himself apart.