NEW YORK (AP) - Jacques Lemaire's exit was hardly unexpected. The Chicago Blackhawks' near departure was almost a much bigger stunner.
Lemaire said goodbye to the New Jersey Devils for the second straight year after the club he took over in midseason finished a rare non-playoff campaign with a 3-2 victory Sunday over the playoff-bound Boston Bruins.
The 65-year-old Lemaire took over for the fired John Maclean in December after retiring following last season, and led the Devils on an amazing run that got them close to their 14th straight playoff appearance before falling short.
The Blackhawks will get a chance to defend their first Stanley Cup title since 1961, but they had to sweat it out until Sunday night. Had they missed the playoffs, they would've had only themselves to blame.