The Boston Bruins won’t be hitting the ice again until after Christmas.

On Saturday, the NHL announced that the Bruins would be shut down through Sunday, Dec. 26, “as a result of additional positive cases and concern with the continued spread of COVID-19.”

The Bruins were originally scheduled to play both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, at Montreal and Ottawa, and then two home games during the week against Carolina and Colorado. Now, the soonest they’ll resume their schedule would be Monday, Dec. 27, at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins, barring any further setbacks.

The league also announced that the Bruins’ training facilities will be closed during this time, starting immediately, and will say closed “until further notice.”

The NHL has yet to announce any makeup dates for games.

“The Bruins 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, and national agencies,” the league said in a statement.

As of Friday, the Bruins had seven players in the COVID protocol — including top players Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Boston was forced to play a man short on Thursday against the New York Islanders because of those missing players and salary cap issues.

The Bruins’ list grew to nine players on Saturday when Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar were placed in the protocol.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS: The NHL reintroduced stricter COVID-19 protocols Saturday that include daily testing and other steps in a bid to limit a growing outbreak among players and team personnel.

The enhanced protocols will be put into effect immediately and last through Jan. 1, with an evaluation of their impact no later than Jan. 7. The move follows discussions between the NHL and NHL Players’ Association as virus conditions worsen across North America.

Five teams – Boston, Calgary, Colorado, Florida and Nashville – are shut down through Christmas because of virus cases. Approximiately 70 players – 10% of the 700 league-wide – are in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol and the number of games postponed this season has climbed past 20.

Additionally, Saturday night’s Toronto-Vancouver game and Sunday’s Arizona-Vancouver and Toronto-Seattle games have been postponed.

Several Canadian provinces are now or will soon limit attendance at large events like NHL games to 50% of capacity.

Besides the daily testing for players and coaches, “additional pregame testing may be implemented, on a case-by-case basis, when a COVID outbreak occurs within a team.”

The league said the omicron variant is responsible for the uptick in cases.

“Given the increased number of positive cases in our league within the last two weeks, and changing societal realities with the new omicron COVID-19 variant, the NHLPA and NHL have collectively agreed that all Clubs shall be required to follow enhanced preventative and detection measures,” the league said.

Moments after the announcement, Detroit placed three players, head coach Jeff Blashill and assistant coach Alex Tanguay in protocol ahead of Saturday night’s home game against New Jersey. The Red Wings have the only player in the league, Tyler Bertuzzi, who is not vaccinated.

While postponed games may be rescheduled, all eyes on are the calendar: The NHL plans to allow its players to participate in the Winter Olympics in China in February – unless COVID-19 disruptions prove to be too much.

The NHL has until Jan. 10 to opt-out of the Winter Games without financial penalty, but retains the right to cancel its plans up until players are scheduled to travel to Beijing.

SATURDAY’S GAMES

HURRICANES 5, KINGS 1: Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jesper Fast scored in the opening two minutes and they each added an assist as Carolina beat visiting Los Angeles.

Brett Pesce, Teuvo Teravainen and Jack Drury also scored for the Hurricanes. Brady Skjei had two assists to help Carolina win for the sixth time in its last seven games. Frederik Andersen stopped 32 shots, improving his career record to 10-1-3 against Los Angeles.

FLYERS 4, SENATORS 3: Travis Sanheim scored 1:35 into overtime and also had an assist as Philadelphia won at home.

Claude Giroux, Oskar Lindblom and Joel Farabee also scored for the Flyers, who have won four of five. Giroux moved into a tie for second on the franchise’s all-time scoring list, matching Bill Barber’s career point total of 883.

STARS 4, BLACKHAWKS 3: John Klingberg scored on the power play 2:13 into overtime and Dallas won at home.

Joe Pavelski had two power-play goals and two assists, and Jason Robertson also scored for Dallas. Jake Oettinger stopped 20 shots to help the Stars end a five-game losing streak that followed a franchise-record seven-game winning streak.

RED WINGS 5, DEVILS 2: Dylan Larkin got his first career hat trick and added an assist as Detroit handed visiting New Jersey its fifth consecutive loss.

Tyler Bertuzzi added two goals and Thomas Greiss made 32 saves.

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