Outside of playoff position, Predators fire head coach Peter Laviolette
Former Nashville head coach led team to 1st Stanley Cup final in 2017
In the midst of a disappointing season, the Nashville Predators fired head coach Peter Laviolette on Monday.
The Predators reached the Stanley Cup final three seasons ago under Laviolette's guidance, before falling in the second round the following year and failing to win their first-round playoff series last season.
In 2019-2020, the Predators currently sit outside the playoff picture with a 19-15-7 record and 45 points in 41 games.
Nashville, just one point out of last place in the Central Division, also parted ways with assistant Kevin McCarthy.
There was no word on a replacement for either coach, but the Predators scheduled a news conference for Tuesday morning. Poile praised their work in a release.
"Under the leadership of Peter and Kevin, our organization reached unprecedented heights — from our franchise-altering run to the Stanley Cup Final to a Presidents' Trophy and our first two Central Division titles," Nashville general manger David Poile said.
"Their passion for the game, ability to motivate a team and drive to be the best makes this a difficult decision. On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Peter and Kevin for all their contributions to the Nashville Predators over the past five-and-a-half seasons."
Nashville did not announce who would be taking over behind the bench.
This marks the sixth NHL coaching change of the season.
The Predators have dropped four of five heading into Tuesday night's game against the Boston Bruins. The 55-year-old Laviolette went 248-143-60 in his time with Nashville.
Sputtering special teams
Poile traded away defenceman P.K. Subban, Nashville's highest-paid player, and signed free-agent forward Matt Duchene to a $56 million US, seven-year contract on July 1. But the Predators sputtered through the first half of this season. They hadn't won more than two straight games since a four-game streak in late October.
Laviolette has 637 wins over 18 years as an NHL coach with the New York Islanders, Carolina, Philadelphia and Nashville. He coached the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup championship in 2006.
The Predators are 5-3-2 over their last 10 games, which includes blowing a lead in the franchise's first appearance in the Winter Classic last week in Dallas.
Nashville ranked last in the NHL last season on the power play and brought in Dan Lambert as an assistant to help improve that area. Currently, the Predators rank 24th in the league, converting just 16.8 per cent of power plays. The Predators are even worse on the penalty kill — 29th out of 31 teams, killing 74 per cent of penalties.
They rank sixth in the NHL with an average of 3.44 goals per game, but the Predators have struggled to hold leads while giving up goals in bunches.
With files from The Associated Press