Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens game postponed

Saturday's game between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins has been postponed, the NHL announced Friday.

No makeup date for the game has been set.

Montreal played in front of an empty arena Thursday for its 3-2 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers after Quebec public health officials requested that no fans attend the game amid rising COVID-19 cases.

"Today was a bit of a wake-up call," Jonathan Drouin said. "We weren't expecting that there wouldn't be fans in the stands this year with the vaccines. We were told the opposite, but it's tough to see that again, without the fans' energy. After that, health and safety is more important than going to watch a hockey game."

The Canadiens said they have been assured they will be allowed to return to partial capacity at the Bell Centre beginning in January.

The Bruins, meanwhile, were without seven players because of COVID-19 protocol -- including stars Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron -- for Thursday night's 3-1 loss at the New York Islanders. They played a man down with 11 forwards and six defensemen. Boston coach Bruce Cassidy, who tested positive Nov. 30, just rejoined the team Monday.

More than 140 NHL players have been on the protocol list this season in a league that has proudly noted that all but one of its approximately 700 players are considered fully vaccinated, although booster shots are not mandated.

Montreal's next game is scheduled for Monday at the Islanders. The Bruins are set to face the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.