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Devils fire Julien


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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Lou Lamoriello is back behind the bench in New Jersey.

The playoff-bound Devils have fired head coach Claude Julien with less than a week to go in the regular season with the veteran GM Lamoriello taking over for the second straight season.

Lamoriello also stepped behind the bench last season after Larry Robinson stepped down as coach in December.

The surprising move Monday comes with the Devils second in the Eastern Conference with a 47-24-8 record and 102 points. The Devils have won four of their last five games, including Sunday's 3-1 win over Boston. They went 6-6-2 in March while battling key injuries to Brian Gionta, John Madden and Patrik Elias.

Julien, a former Montreal Canadiens coach, took over the Devils on June 13, 2006, after Lamoriello relinquished the coaching duties.

It's reminiscent of the 1999-2000 season when the Devils fired head coach Robbie Ftorek on March 23 and went on to win the Stanley Cup under Robinson that spring.

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