Ducks fire coach Boudreau after early playoff exit

Greg Beacham
Associated Press

Anaheim, Calif. —

The Anaheim Ducks fired coach Bruce Boudreau on Friday, two days after their disappointing first-round exit from the playoffs.

Ducks general manager Bob Murray announced the decision to fire Boudreau, who hasn’t been able to pair postseason success with steady excellence in his two NHL coaching jobs in Anaheim and Washington. The Ducks have lost a Game 7 on home ice in four consecutive playoff years, culminating in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Nashville in the first round.

“This was a very difficult decision to make,” Murray said in a statement. “Bruce is a good coach and character person, and we wish him the best of luck in the future.”

Boudreau had spectacular regular-season success with the Ducks, leading them to four consecutive Pacific Division titles while going 208-104-40 in nearly five seasons in charge.

But the Ducks’ last four seasons have ended in pain. Anaheim blew a 3-2 series lead in each of those seasons, including the loss to the Predators.

Anaheim was eliminated Wednesday night in a gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to Nashville in Game 7 of the first round. Anaheim outshot the Predators 28-10 over the final two periods, but couldn’t overcome two early goals.

Anaheim reached the Western Conference finals last season, losing in seven games to Chicago. That was the second straight year the Ducks were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champions, following their 2014 loss to Los Angeles in the second round.

The Ducks won three playoff rounds in four seasons under Boudreau, but couldn’t reach the Stanley Cup Final.

Boudreau is the second coach to fail to coax postseason poise out of Anaheim teams led by Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, the two fixtures on Anaheim’s roster since its only Stanley Cup title run in 2007. Perry didn’t score a goal in the entire seven-game series against Nashville, while Getzlaf failed to inspire his teammates to success as their captain.

Randy Carlyle, who led the Ducks to the title, was fired by Murray in November 2011. Boudreau took over and immediately sparked the franchise.

Boudreau then won the next four division titles, and this season was perhaps his most impressive. Anaheim got off to a 1-7-2 start and struggled all the way to Christmas, but responded with a 34-10-5 performance after the Christmas break to steal the division title on the final day of the season.

Murray showed patience with Boudreau and the Ducks during the start of the year. When it wasn’t rewarded with postseason success, he fired Boudreau.

“We would like to express our appreciation to Bruce and his wife Crystal for their commitment to our community,” Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli said. “Bruce led us to four division titles with tremendous passion and pride, and we will always be grateful for his contributions both on and off the ice.”