Slumping New Jersey Devils fire coach Lindy Ruff, promote Travis Green

The New Jersey Devils gave coach Lindy Ruff a multiyear extension last summer after he led the team back to the playoffs in 2022-23. But the Devils fired him Monday with the playoffs looking less likely.

The Devils announced that associate coach Travis Green will be interim head coach for the rest of the season.

Ruff, 64, and the coaching staff gave goaltender Nico Daws a second consecutive start and he was pulled for a second consecutive game Sunday. The 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey's fifth in the last seven games, left the Devils seven points shy of a playoff spot.

Everything seemed to go right for the Devils last season as they hit a franchise-record 112 points and knocked off the New York Rangers in the first round. Ruff was a finalist for coach of the year.

Plenty has gone wrong this season, some beyond Ruff's control. Captain Nico Hischier missed time early, star Jack Hughes went out twice with injuries and top defenseman Dougie Hamilton has been limited to 20 games. Forward Michael McLeod is on leave after being charged in connection with an alleged 2018 sexual assault.

But the goaltending has been ineffective and the power play has struggled recently.

“I hold our entire organization to the highest levels of accountability to focus on being a competitive team that expects to be a perennial playoff contender,” Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we are not currently at that level, and I needed to make this decision.

“This was an extremely difficult conversation to have with Lindy based on the relationship that he and I have. He was the right coach to develop our young players on the ice, and above all else, he is a tremendous person.

“Travis has key experience running benches at the junior, AHL and NHL levels and knows that there are no shortcuts to success. He is a high-demanding individual who is familiar with the group and excited about working to get us back on track."

Green had been a head coach with the Vancouver Canucks for four-plus seasons.

Ruff had a 128-125-28 record with the Devils. His 864 career victories rank fourth all-time.

He was the seventh NHL coach fired during the 2023-24 season. The Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and Los Angeles Kings made earlier moves.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Devils fire Lindy Ruff, name Travis Green interim coach