VANCOUVER — The NHL has postponed two games each for the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs as COVID-19 case counts continue to jump throughout the league.

A matchup between the Canucks and Leafs scheduled for Saturday, and Sunday games between the Canucks and Arizona Coyotes and the Leafs and Seattle Kraken have been pushed back indefinitely.

Vancouver has six players — Tyler Myers, Tyler Motte, Brad Hunt, Juho Lammikko, Tucker Poolman and Luke Schenn — and assistant coach Jason King in the league's COVID-19 protocol.

"The Vancouver Canucks have followed, and will continue to follow, all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of their players, staff and communities at large as set by the NHL and local health authorities," the team said in a statement.

Toronto is also short-handed with John Tavares, Alex Kerfoot, Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds on the protocol list.

The NHL also paused Boston Bruins' and Nashville Predators' seasons through at least Dec. 26 on Saturday, citing "concern for a rising number of positive cases as well as the potential for continued COVID spread in the coming days."

Boston has seven players and two staff in COVID protocol, while Nashville has eight players and seven employees on the list.

The NHL said in a statement that the decision to postpone games was made by medical groups with the teams, the league and the NHL Players' Association.

The league said it is in the process of reviewing and revising its regular-season schedule.

Five of the games originally set for Saturday have now been pushed, including Florida at Minnesota, Boston at Montreal, Tampa Bay at Colorado and Columbus at Calgary.

The NHL and NHLPA announced earlier on Saturday enhanced protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the virus amid the emergence of the omicron variant.

The new measures include daily testing, increased use of masks in team facilities and while travelling, physical distancing and prohibitions on players dining out while on the road.

The league and the players' union will re-evaluate the enhanced protocols by Jan. 7.

The Calgary Flames — who have 19 players and 13 employees in isolation — saw their season paused earlier this week. The Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers followed suit as the virus swept through their teams.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 18, 2021.