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Sliding Maple Leafs fire Wilson as coach

The Maple Leafs' slide out of a playoff position has cost coach Ron Wilson his job.

Wilson was fired Friday night and replaced by former Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, who was expected to be behind the bench tonight against the Canadiens.

In late January, the Leafs appeared to be on their way to ending a playoff drought that stretches to 2004. But a 1-9-1 run starting Feb. 7 sent them tumbling out of a playoff spot. They are in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, five points out of the final playoff spot.

Toronto has the league's second-longest current playoff drought, seven years.

The firing came two months after Wilson, 56, hired in 2008, was given a one-year contract extension. "This was not an easy decision for me to make," general manager Brian Burke said in a statement. "I want to thank Ron for all of his hard work and dedication to our organization over the past four seasons."

Chants of "Fire Wilson!" echoed through Air Canada Centre when the Maple Leafs fell 5-3 to the Panthers on Tuesday. It was Wilson's 1,400th career NHL game coached, tying him with Pat Quinn for fourth on the all-time list.

Carlyle, 55, was fired by the Ducks on Nov. 30 after a 7-13-4 start that had them tied for the second-fewest points in the league with 18. He was in Anaheim for 61/2 seasons.

game highlights: Devils wing Zach Parise had a hat trick before leaving a 5-0 win over the host Capitals after being hit simultaneously by Washington's Brooks Laich and Matt Hendricks near the boards. Parise was helped off and taken toward the locker room. He was on the bench in the third period, smiling and chatting with teammates, and played briefly on a power play with about six minutes left. "I was a little shaken up at first," Parise said. "And then after a little while, it went away."

around the league: Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom missed Friday's game with the Wild and is out Sunday against the Blackhawks with a deep bone bruise on an ankle. He also missed Tuesday's game against the Blue Jackets. … Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk will have surgery Tuesday to repair a broken bone in his left foot and will miss four to six weeks. He was hurt blocking a shot against the Islanders on Thursday. … Sharks coach Todd McLellan returned to the team for the first time since sustaining a concussion when he was hit in the head by a stick on the bench Sunday against the Wild.

Blackhawks 0 2 0 2
at Senators 1 0 0 0

First Period1, Ottawa, Michalek 29 (Spezza, Gilroy), 15:35. PenaltiesBollig, Chi (roughing), 10:06; Konopka, Ott (roughing), 10:06; Cowen, Ott (interference), 10:06.

Second Period2, Chicago, Bickell 7 (Sharp, Kruger), 5:14. 3, Chicago, Hossa 27 (Sharp, Mayers), 9:48 (pp). PenaltiesGilroy, Ott (tripping), 9:31.

Third PeriodNone. PenaltiesStalberg, Chi (tripping), 2:15. Missed Penalty ShotSharp, Chi, 2:18 second. Shots on GoalChicago 17-17-5—39. Ottawa 9-7-10—26. Power-play opportunitiesChicago 1 of 2; Ottawa 0 of 1. GoaliesChicago, Emery 13-8-2 (26 shots-25 saves). Ottawa, Lehner 3-1-0 (39-37).

at Red Wings 2 3 1 6
Wild 0 0 0 0

First Period1, Detroit, V.Filppula 20 (Zetterberg, Kronwall), :35. 2, Detroit, Smith 1 (Abdelkader, Cleary), 16:04. PenaltiesClutterbuck, Min (delay of game), 1:08; N.Johnson, Min (slashing), 6:56.

Second Period3, Detroit, Helm 8 (Franzen, Kronwall), 7:05. 4, Detroit, V.Filppula 21 (Zetterberg, Kronwall), 16:35. 5, Detroit, White 7, 17:42. PenaltiesHudler, Det (holding), 10:45.

Third Period6, Detroit, Zetterberg 15 (V.Filppula, White), 5:30. PenaltiesCullen, Min (cross-checking), :36; Powe, Min (holding), 5:48; Heatley, Min (roughing), 8:39; Smith, Det (interference), 13:38; Cleary, Det, double minor (roughing), 17:42; Kassian, Min, double minor (roughing), 17:43. Shots on GoalMinn. 5-5-9—19. Detroit 13-12-10—35. Power-play opportunitiesMinn. 0 of 3; Detroit 0 of 5. GoaliesMinn., Harding 9-10-4 (29 shots-23 saves), Hackett (5:30 third, 6-6). Detroit, Howard 33-13-2 (19-19).

Devils 3 2 0 5
at Capitals 0 0 0 0

First Period1, New Jersey, Parise 25 (Clarkson, Elias), 11:29 (pp). 2, New Jersey, Parise 26 (Kovalchuk, Henrique), 17:50. 3, New Jersey, Zubrus 16 (Clarkson), 18:19. PenaltiesHendricks, Was (high-sticking), 11:05.

Second Period4, New Jersey, Parise 27 (Henrique, Salvador), 3:08. 5, New Jersey, Elias 21 (Zubrus), 15:02 (sh). PenaltiesGreene, NJ (high-sticking), 13:37.

Third PeriodNone. PenaltiesSalvador, NJ (interference), 7:45; Schultz, Was (slashing), 13:31. Shots on GoalNew Jersey 7-7-6—20. Washington 7-11-5—23. Power-play opportunitiesNew Jersey 1 of 2; Washington 0 of 2. GoaliesNew Jersey, Hedberg 14-7-2 (23 shots-23 saves). Washington, Neuvirth 9-10-3 (20-15). A18,506 (18,398). T2:15. Referees—Paul Devorski, Tom Kowal. LinesmenTim Nowak, Anthony Sericolo.

Sliding Maple Leafs fire Wilson as coach 03/02/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 2, 2012 11:55pm]

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