Guy Carbonneau paid for the Canadiens' roller-coaster season with his job Monday.
GM Bob Gainey takes over behind the bench for the time being. Associate coach Doug Jarvis, assistant coaches Kirk Muller and Roland Melanson will be staying on the coaching staff.
The Habs stand fifth in the Eastern Conference overall standings with a 35-24-7 record. But going into play Monday night, they only had a one-point lead on teams six through eight and a two-point margin on ninth-place Carolina.
Montreal went into free fall in late January and February, losing 10 of 13 games. The team is 5-4-0-1 in its last 10 outings. Carbonneau's last game was a 3-1 win in Dallas on Sunday.
Carbonneau was appointed head coach on May 5, 2006. He served as associate coach to Gainey before that.