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Michal Neuvirth ready for backup duty in Game 5

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Ordinarily the Washington Capitals sending a journeyman goaltender back to the minor leagues is not a major news item. But Dany Sabourin’s assignment to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League could be a nice sign for the Caps.

While It means Michal Neuvirth is ready for backup goalie duty for Saturday’s Game 5 against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Hershey’s playoff series starts Friday, too.

“Obviously it’s good to be back,” Neuvirth said. “Obviously Sabby got to play down there, and that’s why I’ll be the backup.”

With Braden Holtby becoming one of the NHL’s stars of the playoffs with a 1.60 goals-against average and .953 save percentage, as Dale Hunter said earlier in the week, “Holtsy’s our goalie.” But it would be nice insurance to have in case Holtby gets hurt.

Neuvirth suffered what the team is calling a lower-body injury April 5 at the Florida Panthers, when ex-teammate Marco Sturm fell on him.

Neuvirth was on the ice for Friday’s practice and appeared to be moving OK. But he’s not pain-free.

“You need a lot of painkillers and try to get through the pain. That’s what I’m trying to do,” the 24-year-old goaltender said. “Obviously it’s not going to be 100 percent. This thing’s got to heal up over the summer, and it is what it is.”

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