TAMPA, Fla., March 24 (UPI) -- The Tampa Bay Lightning said Sunday it fired head coach Guy Boucher as the team's playoff hopes dwindled.
Assistant Coaches Marty Raymond and Dan Lacroix were slated to run the team for Sunday's game at Winnipeg; however the Tampa Bay Times said there was early speculation former Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was on the short list to replace Boucher.
Ruff has ties to Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman, who said in a written statement he was unhappy with "the direction we are heading."
"I believe making a change today is in the best interest of our franchise," the statement said.
Boucher led Tampa Bay to the 2010-2011 Eastern Conference finals in his first season behind the bench. But he compiled a 13-17-1 record this season and appeared unlikely to make the playoffs for the second consecutive time.
The Lightning lost Saturday night to Ottawa 5-3.