The Calgary Flames, all but eliminated from the playoffs for the fifth season in a row, fired Coach Don Hay on Wednesday and replaced him with assistant Greg Gilbert.
General Manager Craig Button made the change after deciding the team's fortunes weren't going to improve under Hay.
"You come to a point where you have to make an assessment: Can it change?" Button said before the Flames' 3-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Columbus, Ohio in Gilbert's first game as coach. "And I came to the point where I didn't feel it was going to change."
Hay was fired at the team hotel before the game. Gilbert was in his first year as an NHL assistant before being promoted.
Calgary is 23-29-13-4 and 15 points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Scott Gomez scored the game-winning goal in the third period, lifting the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at Phoenix, extending their winning streak to a team-record nine games.
The game was the New Jersey debut for goalie John Vanbiesbrouck, who made 17 saves three days after being acquired from the New York Islanders.
The Coyotes, who are three points ahead of the Kings for the final Western Conference playoff spot, played their first game without former captain Keith Tkachuk, who was traded to St. Louis on Tuesday.
Edmonton 2, Florida 2--Doug Weight scored his second goal of the game with 45.9 seconds left in regulation to lift the Oilers to a tie at Sunrise, Fla., extending Edmonton's unbeaten streak to 10 games.
Buffalo 6, New York Rangers 3--J.P. Dumont scored twice at Buffalo, N.Y., as the Sabres spoiled Mark Messier's milestone night. Messier's assist on Radek Dvorak's first-period goal gave him 1,771 points, tying Marcel Dionne for third on the NHL career-point list. The Rangers captain also played in his 1,549th game, tying Alex Delvecchio for fourth.
New York Islanders 3, Pittsburgh 1--Chris Terreri made 33 saves and Dave Scatchard scored the game-winning goal at Pittsburgh as the Islanders snapped a three-game losing streak.
Ottawa 8, Atlanta 1--Martin Havlat scored a career-high three goals at Ottawa as the Senators snapped a two-game losing streak.
Montreal 6, Carolina 3--Richard Zednik had a goal and two assists in his first game with the Canadiens, and Oleg Petrov had two goals in the third period for Montreal at Raleigh, N.C.
St. Louis 1, Minnesota 0--Scott Young snapped a scoreless tie with 1:51 left in overtime as the Blues won at St. Paul, Minn.