Due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the Carolina Hurricanes, the NHL is postponing their next two games against the Florida Panthers.
Wednesday afternoon, the league made it official, saying at least two Carolina games would be postponed and its training facility is closed “effective immediately, and will remain closed for players until further notice.’’
On Tuesday afternoon, the NHL had to postpone Carolina’s game at Nashville set for later that night because a number of players tested positive.
As of Tuesday, the Hurricanes had five players on the COVID-19 protocol list, and some players were left behind in Nashville under quarantine.
The Panthers were planning to play Carolina on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon.
Florida called off its Wednesday practice following Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime victory over the Blackhawks and was supposed to fly to Raleigh on Wednesday afternoon.
On Wednesday morning, it appeared the team had cancelled its flight.
With no game on Thursday, the Panthers will be back at the BB&T Center for even more practice sessions.
The Panthers plan to hold practices Thursday, Friday and Saturday while keeping their scheduled day off Sunday.
The team will also practice Monday in Sunrise before traveling to Columbus for a two-game set against the Blue Jackets which starts Tuesday.
By the time Florida plays Columbus, the Blue Jackets will have played six games; the Panthers have played just twice.
The team is getting good at practices, however, as they will have held 16 practices by the time they land in central Ohio.
This is the second time the Panthers have had games rescheduled due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the opposing team.
Florida’s season-opening series against the Dallas Stars was postponed with the Panthers finally starting the season Sunday against Chicago.
Of the seven NHL games postponed this season, four have featured the Panthers.
The NHL has already shuffled Florida’s schedule to cram in the two Dallas games and now will have to do some more juggling to add two more games to an already compressed slate.
Thursday’s game would have been the first meeting between the Panthers and former center Vincent Trocheck who was traded to Carolina last February.
The Hurricanes are 2-1-0 after starting their season in Detroit and playing one of two scheduled games in Nashville.