Golden Knights fire head coach Gerard Gallant

Golden Knights fire head coach Gerard Gallant

The former bench boss of the Kitchener Rangers is now the head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Golden Knights assistant coach Mike Kelly was also relieved of his duties on Wednesday.

"In order for our team to reach its full potential, we determined a coaching change was necessary", the team said in a press release.

Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon says the four-game skid was not the reason for the move. "We feel we've underperformed a little bit, and certainly that's not to pile at the feet of Mike and Gerard, but sometimes you feel a change is needed so that's what went into the decision". They were both instrumental to the success we have enjoyed in our first two-plus seasons and we wish them all the best moving forward.

DeBoer, who coached the Devils from 2011-12 until he was sacked in the middle of the 2014-15 season, was replaced in San Jose after the Sharks sat well outside the playoff picture in December in a season where the team had Stanley Cup aspirations.

The 51-year-old also coached the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils, guiding both the Sharks and Devils to appearances in the Stanley Cup Final. He was sacked by the Sharks when they had a 15-16-2 record on December 11 despite high expectations entering the season. They are coming off a 4-2 loss Tuesday to the Buffalo Sabres that didn't sit well among players.

Ironically, DeBoer is hired by the Knights after eliminating them in a seven-game first-round series previous year, during which the Sharks rallied from a 3-0 third-period deficit in the final game to eliminate Vegas.

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McCrimmon called DeBoer "proven and experienced", and said the team believes he can help them achieve their ultimate goal of winning a Stanley Cup.

Vegas is 24-19-6 and next plays Thursday night at Ottawa.

More specifically, the Golden Knights rank top five in Corsi For percentage, scoring chances for percentage, high-danger scoring chances for percentage, and expected goals for percentage at five-on-five, according to Natural Stat Trick.

The Golden Knights have dropped four straight contests and now sit fourth place in the Pacific, but are tied for the final wild card spot and are just three points behind Arizona for first in the division.

Before coaching in the NHL, DeBoer was one of the most distinguished coaches in the Ontario Hockey League's history.

DeBoer spent three seasons prior to his stint with the Devils as head coach of the Florida Panthers, compiling a 103-107-36 mark behind the Panthers' bench. Gallant was set to coach the Pacific team at All-Star Weekend later this month after Vegas led the division at the halfway mark.

Gallant is the seventh coach to be fired in the National Hockey League this season, joining Mike Babcock in Toronto, Bill Peters in Calgary, John Hynes in New Jersey, Jim Montgomery in Dallas, Peter Laviolette in Nashville and DeBoer.

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