The Montreal Canadiens did not allow any fans into the Bell Centre for Thursday night's 3-2 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
A team statement released before the game cited the ongoing rise of COVID-19 cases in the region along with a request from Quebec public health officials as the reasons why the game was played in an empty arena.
Jonathan Drouin was the hero of the silent arena, scoring the sole shootout goal for a victory against the lowly Flyers. Artturi Lehkonen and Laurent Dauphin scored in regulation for Montreal (7-21-3).
Jackson Cates had his first-career NHL goal and Max Willman added another for Philadelphia (11-12-5).
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) December 17, 2021
The Canadiens announced on Friday that their game against the Boston Bruins, scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed. The Bruins are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak as six members of the team - including Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron - are currently sidelined due to the virus.
The Habs have "obtained assurances" that partial capacity limits will be introduced for the team's games in January.
Important to note the Canadiens have been assured by the government "that beginning with our games in January, we will return to a partial capacity scenario and be able to host fans once more."
Natural assumption there is it will be a while before they return to full capacity.
— Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu) December 16, 2021
The Canadiens were the first Canadian NHL team forced to cut capacity to zero for a game this season. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators have been instructed by the Ontario government to limit capacity to 50 percent for upcoming home games starting this Saturday.
With cases on the rise league-wide, the NHL recently announced enhanced health and safety protocols in an effort to help limit the spread of the virus.
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