The Pittsburgh Penguins games vs. the New Jersey Devils this week are postponed due to positive tests in the New Jersey Devils group and subsequent COVID protocols.
Update: According to NHL PR, four additional New Jersey players have been placed in protocols and the team facilities have been shut down. In total, 10 New Jersey players are in the league’s protocols. New Jersey will not play until next Tuesday in New Jersey against the Penguins, at the earliest.
The story contains additional updates as additional information was released.
The stated league policy has been one of flexibility. The Dallas Stars, Carolina Hurricanes, and Vegas Golden Knights have all postponed series because of protocols. The Washington Capitals played despite four players being placed in protocols and goalie Ilya Samsonov testing positive after their first-week series against the Penguins.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said there is a buffer between the regular season and the playoffs’ potential start to finish postponed games, if necessary.
NHL analyst Kevin Weekes first tweeted the news near 5 p.m. on Monday.
** Breaking News **
As per what I’m told ; adhering to guidelines, given some Covid cases within their group, the @NJDevils game tomorrow in Pittsburgh with the @penguins is now postponed for a later date. @NHL @NHLNetwork #HockeyTwitter
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) February 1, 2021
The Penguins game on Tuesday is the postponement in the NHL’s East Division this season.
In the Central Division, the Florida Panthers series against the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes were postponed when each of Dallas and Carolina had COVID cases. St. Louis and Carolina were also postponed.
In the West Division, the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights were postponed this week when the Vegas coaching staff was quarantined and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tested positive.
The Penguins are 5-3-1 in their first nine games and face the New York Rangers on Monday night. New Jersey trails the Penguins by one point for fourth place in the East Division, the final playoff spot. New Jersey is 4-3-2 with a negative-3 goal differential.
UPDATE: Daren Dreger of TSN added this:
The NHL will have more on this, but, the New Jersey Devils shutdown is likely going to cover the next week.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 1, 2021