The box office at Rogers Arena in Vancouver has been quiet all season, with no fans allowed, and the team has been idle since March 24 because of a COVID-19 outbreak. The Canucks were scheduled to resume their season Friday, but their game against Edmonton has been postponed. Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The NHL has delayed the Vancouver Canucks’ return to competition.

The Canucks, who have not played a game since March 24 because of a COVID-19 outbreak, had been scheduled to host the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night. The league announced Thursday the team would not play that game and did not immediately set a new date for Vancouver’s return.

The decision was made with input from the NHL Players’ Association and medical staff from teams, the NHL said.

Before the league made the announcement, Vancouver forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” to play Friday night because the pandemic-hit team has not had enough time to recover and get back in shape.

Miller did not test positive for COVID-19 during the outbreak, but said he still isn’t in game shape and can’t imagine what it would be like for teammates who were sick to return to play so quickly.

“It’s kind of frustrating if I’m being 100 percent honest with you,” Miller said Wednesday. “We try to talk about the No. 1 priority is the players’ health and the families’ safety, and it’s almost impossible to achieve that with what they’ve asked us to do here on our return.”

The NHL plans to announce additional changes to the schedule for North Division teams on Friday.

The Canucks did not allow the media to attend practice Thursday, their first practice since the outbreak. At least 21 players and four members of the coaching staff have tested positive for the coronavirus since March 30.

Before the latest delay, Oilers captain Connor McDavid said it will be difficult for the Canucks to come back even if they have a number of practices.

“Obviously, a very dangerous situation and we’re hopeful that they can come out of it and everyone can be healthy and fit to play at some point,” he said.

Seven Canucks remained on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list Wednesday: defensemen Jalen Chatfield, Alex Edler and Nate Schmidt and forwards Jayce Hawryluk, Nils Hoglander, Zack MacEwen and Jake Virtanen.

A player on the protocol list has not necessarily tested positive. Players who are in isolation after traveling or who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive, for example, are also on the list.

The list does not include team staff or players not on the active roster, including those on the taxi squad.


RANGERS 4, DEVILS 0: Artemi Panarin had two goals and an assist, Igor Shesterkin got his second straight shutout, and New York won at home.

Jacob Trouba and Ryan Lindgren also scored to help the Rangers win for the sixth time in nine games (6-1-2). Colin Blackwell had a career-high three assists and Ryan Strome added two.

Shesterkin finished with 16 saves for his second NHL shutout – and second in three days against the Devils.

FLYERS 2, PENGUINS 1: Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier scored in the shootout and Philadelphia won at Pittsburgh.

Giroux and Couturier were the lone shooters for Philadelphia. Jake Guentzel scored for Pittsburgh, but Carter Hart stopped Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang to seal the win.

Crosby scored his 17th of the season for Pittsburgh, which had its three-game winning streak end.

Crosby opened the scoring at 5:04 of the second period. During the play, Crosby gave his stick to defenseman Brian Dumoulin in the defensive zone, grabbed a bench stick from an equipment manager off the rush and converted a rebound that was misplayed in front by Hart.

Dumoulin’s secondary assist extended his career-best scoring streak to six games, the longest active streak by an NHL defenseman.

SABRES 5, CAPITALS 2: Anders Bjork scored his first goal with his new team and added an assist, helping Buffalo spoil Nicklas Backstrom’s 1,000th game as the Sabres won at Washington.

Sam Reinhart scored his 15th goal and Victor Olofsson added his 12th for Buffalo, which has won five of nine following an 18-game winless streak. Casey Middlestadt added the first short-handed goal of his career during the Sabres’ three-goal second period. Tage Thompson scored an empty-netter.

JETS 5, MAPLE LEAFS 2: Nikolaj Ehlers scored twice, Connor Helleybuck made 31 saves and Winnipeg won at Toronto.

Kyle Connor added two goals, including one into an empty net, to go along with an assist, while Mark Scheifele had a goal and two assists. Neal Pionk chipped in with two assists as the Jets moved within three points of the Leafs for the top spot in the North Division.

John Tavares, with a goal and an assist, and Alex Galchenyuk scored for Toronto.

Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, who leads the NHL with 32 goals, missed the game because of an injury and is listed as day to day.

When asked if it was a recurrence of a wrist injury from earlier in the season, Leafs Coach Sheldon Keefe said: “It’s similar, but not the same.”

Keefe said the injury is not expected to keep Matthews out for long.

HURRICANES 4, PREDATORS 1: Warren Foegele scored the first of three Carolina goals in under eight minutes and the Hurricanes won at home, snapping a two-game skid.

Andrei Svechnikov, Vincent Trocheck and Sebastian Aho also scored for the Hurricanes.

LIGHTNING 3, PANTHERS 2: Victor Hedman scored 54 seconds into overtime to give Tampa Bay a win at home.

The Lightning remained tied for first place in the Central Division with Carolina, though the Hurricanes have a game in hand. Florida is one point back.

RED WINGS 4, BLACKHAWKS 1: Jakub Vrana scored in his Detroit debut, and Troy Stecher added two goals in a win over visiting Chicago.

STARS 4, BLUE JACKETS 1: Denis Gurianov had his first two-goal game of the season, Miro Heiskanen and Joe Pavelski also scored and Dallas won at home.

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