The Montreal Canadiens began the season with an offensive explosion and a 7-1-2 record.
Since then, their goals dried up and they went into a 2-4-2 slide.
And in a short season, that was enough for general manager Marc Bergevin, who fired coach Claude Julien on Wednesday and replaced him with interim coach Dominique Ducharme. (He lost his debut as the top man behind the bench 6-3 on Thursday.)
“I just saw a pattern where I didn’t want to wait any longer,” Bergevin told reporters.
A rough stretch will become magnified during a 56-game season, with less time to get back on track.
With that in mind, are there any other NHL coaches who could be feeling the heat? USA TODAY Sports’ experts weigh in:
Calgary Flames’ Geoff Ward: It’s easy to point to lower-rung teams such as the New York Rangers or Detroit Red Wings, but Ward is facing a different kind of pressure. Calgary added one of the top goalies on the market, Jacob Markstrom, and defenseman Christopher Tanev during the offseason and is operating close to the salary cap, further signaling it fashions itself as a contender. But here we are, 21 games into the season and…