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Panthers fire Gallant, name GM interim coach

Panthers fire Gallant, name GM interim coach

The Florida Panthers fired head coach Gerard Gallant on Sunday after a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes dropped the team to 11-10-1 on the season.

General manager Tom Rowe has been named the interim coach.

allant was named head coach of the Panthers in 2014 and finished second to Barry Trotz in the Jack Adams Trophy voting last season after leading Florida to an Atlantic Division championship with 103 points. That was the most successful regular season in the history of the franchise. He lasted just 22 games into his third season as a Panthers team with high aspirations currently sits in 5th place in their division and two points out of the final wild card spot.

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The way things unfolded on Sunday were a bit bizarre. After falling to Carolina, Gallant spoke to the media following the game and was then told afterward that he had been fired. With Florida on its way to Chicago for a game against the Blackhawks on Tuesday, Gallant was left behind and forced to wait for a taxi to take him to the airport after the team departed.

The Panthers will now look to Rowe to lead them back into playoff contention.

Rowe was a Washington Capitals draft pick in 1976 and played 191 games for the Caps in his NHL career. He helped lead the Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup championship in 2006 as an assistant coach. He has also served as a head coach in the AHL, but left his position as head coach of the Portland Pirates in 2016 to become the associate general manager of the Panthers. He was promoted to general manager prior to this season.

Washington has won both meetings with the Panthers this season. The two teams will play again in the regular season finale on April 9.

MORE CAPITALS: TROTZ PLANS TO ADDRESS CAPS' GROWING PENALTY PROBLEM

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Want to witness history? Why Saturday's game is a good bet for Alex Ovechkin to score 700

Want to witness history? Why Saturday's game is a good bet for Alex Ovechkin to score 700

Alex Ovechkin is capable of scoring any time against any team, but if you're trying to pinpoint when history could happen and see goal No. 700, there are plenty of reasons to be watching Saturday's marquee matchup against the New Jersey Devils (1 p.m., NBC Sports Washington).

In three games this season, Ovechkin has scored four times against New Jersey. On Jan. 16, he was bloodied by a high stick from Miles Wood and left for the locker room returning before the first period was up and scored twice. He did not just get mad, he got even and completed the hat trick in the third period.

Head coach Alain Nasreddine did not reveal who his starter would be in net on Friday, but it will be either MacKenzie Blackwood or Cory Schneider. Keep your fingers crossed for Schneider.

Schneider has not played an NHL game since Jan. 18 and was recalled from the AHL on Thursday most likely because Louis Domingue is headed out of town in a trade and the team wanted to protect the asset. Schneider has a 4.65 GAA and .852 save percentage in nine games. Ovechkin has also had plenty of success against him in the past, scoring eight times against the Devils netminder. He has only managed one goal on Blackwood, but it came this season on Dec. 12, 2019.

Ovechkin has a history of success against the Devils. In 56 games against New Jersey, Ovechkin scored in 22 of them. He has 29 total goals including two of his 28 career hat tricks against the Devils.

New Jersey ranks 30th in the NHL in goals against and, although they have improved in that area since Jan. 1, they still rank 21st in that time keeping the puck out of the net.

Add in the fact that the trade deadline firesale has already begun with the Devils shipping out Blake Coleman and captain Andy Greene in the past week, as well as Taylor Hall back in December, and this may be a team not ready to stop Ovechkin's march to history.

With Ovechkin on the verge of 700, there's no doubt that Saturday's marquee matchup (1 p.m., NBC Sports Washington) is one you won't want to miss.

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Alex Ovechkin's son, Sergei, makes an appearance during Capitals practice

Alex Ovechkin's son, Sergei, makes an appearance during Capitals practice

The Capitals had a special guest during their morning skate on Friday.

Alex Ovechkin's son, Sergei, got to pay his father a visit at the Medstar Capitals Iceplex.

Ovechkin carried his one-year-old around the ice and even put him down on the ice to practice his skills. Sergei had a mini stick of his own, almost like he was ready to play if needed.

No word yet on whether Sergei plans on declaring for the upcoming NHL draft, but the kid has already got some skills--and not to mention pretty good genes.

If you were having a bad day, this moment between Ovechkin and his son will certainly cheer you up!

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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