The New York Islanders' next two games will be postponed, the NHL announced Saturday, as the team is dealing with a COVID-19 crisis. An eighth Islanders player entered COVID protocol Saturday morning, prompting the NHL's decision.
New York last played Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a game it lost 1-0 with seven players in COVID protocol.
"The National Hockey League announced today that as a result of an additional New York Islanders Player entering COVID Protocol this morning, and up to eight players potentially unavailable to play due to COVID protocol, as well as the possibility of additional cases due to spread, the team's games will be postponed at least through Tuesday, Nov. 30," the NHL announced in a statement. "The decision was made by the League in consultation with the NHLPA's and Club's medical groups.
The NHL added it is "reviewing and revising" New York's regular-season schedule but did not blame the team for the situation.
"The Islanders organization has followed, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of its Players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, state and national agencies," the NHL's statement read.
The Islanders are riding an eight-game losing streak, have been outscored 32-7 over that stretch and are last in the Metropolitan Division at 5-10-2.
New York began the season with 13 straight road games and went 5-6-2, but the team has lost four straight since unveiling UBS Arena on Nov. 20. No Islanders team before this one lost its first four home games.
Islanders coach Barry Trotz, who led the Nashville Predators during their expansion years, says the challenge his team is facing this year is as daunting as any he's faced over his decades in the league.
"This is one of the biggest challenges I've ever faced in 20-something years," said the 59-year-old Trotz, who led the Washington Capitals to a Stanley Cup win in 2018. "And I started with an expansion team."
The earliest New York can return is a Dec. 2 home game against the San Jose Sharks.