The Montreal Canadiens placed forward Brendan Gallagher and defenceman Sami Niku in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol on Thursday.

Head coach Dominique Ducharme said the two players both tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday night, adding neither is exhibiting symptoms at this time.

The Canadiens were without both players when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night, falling 4-1.

Gallagher, 29, has four goals and 10 points in 29 games this season after posting 14 goals and 23 points in 35 games last season.

Niku, in his first season with Montreal after signing as a free agent, has three assists in nine games with the Canadiens. 

Montreal currently sits second last in the Atlantic Division with a 6-17-2 record.