Florida Panthers fire coach Gerard Gallant


USP NHL: NEW JERSEY DEVILS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS S HKN USA FL

The Florida Panthers have fired coach Gerard Gallant after two-plus seasons on the job, the franchise announced on Monday.

Gallant confirmed the multiple reports that he’d been let go, telling NHL.com on Sunday, after the Panthers’ 3-2 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes. It took the team nearly 12 hours to make it official as the franchise announced Tom Rowe, the Panthers’ general manager, would serve as the interim coach.

“My focus is solely on turning our season around, fixing our special teams and securing a playoff berth,” Rowe said in a statement released by the team.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Nick Kypreos were the first to report the firing.

Gallant led the Panthers to the playoffs last season for the first time in four seasons. They went 47-26-9 to break 100 points for the first time in franchise (22 season) history, and won the Atlantic Division title.

But the Panthers have struggled to gather momentum this season, with their loss Sunday dropping their record to 11-10-1.

 “In seeking to earn a second consecutive playoff berth and bring a Stanley Cup to South Florida, we believe that new leadership is required immediately,” Panthers owner Vincent J. Viola said in a statement.

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