Lindy Ruff is out as coach in Buffalo, meaning the slow-starting, inconsistent and sometimes lethargic Sabres have now become Ron Rolston’s mess to clean up.
Rolston was promoted from the Sabres’ minor league affiliate, AHL Rochester, to finish out the season as Buffalo’s interim head coach Wednesday.
The move was made hours after Ruff was fired amid growing criticism for the team’s early-season struggles. And it came less than a week after Ruff had defiantly said he wasn’t done trying to ‘‘clean up this mess.’’
The turnaround never came for Ruff and the Sabres (6-10-1), who are in the midst of a 4-10-1 slump following a 2-1 home loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.
‘‘I think the last game was quite honestly a tipping point. And it was evident to me that we were searching for answers to too many questions,’’ general manger Darcy Regier said.
Ruff’s dismissal ends his 16-season tenure in Buffalo, during which he became the franchise’s winningest coach (571-432-162) and the NHL’s longest active-serving coach with one team.
Regier said he’ll use the remainder of the season to determine whether Rolston, in his second season with the Rochester Americans, deserves taking over the job on a full-time basis. Before taking over in Rochester, Rolston spent seven seasons as coach of USA Hockey’s National Team development program.
Team owner Terry Pegula was regarded as a big fan of Ruff. ‘‘The hockey world knows how I and the entire Buffalo Sabres organization feel about Lindy Ruff not only as a coach but also as a person,’’ Pegula said in a statement. ‘‘His qualities have made this decision very difficult. I personally want Lindy to know that he can consider me a friend always.’’
Under Ruff, the Sabres made the playoffs in each of his first four seasons and eight times overall. That included a surprising run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999, when Buffalo was beaten by Dallas in six games.
Flyers 6, Penguins 5 — Jakub Voracek scored the go-ahead goal with 1:31 remaining in the third period to cap a hat trick and lead Philadelphia to a wild victory in Pittsburgh.
Voracek’s third goal came 33 seconds after Pittsburgh’s Brandon Sutter tied the game on a wraparound as the Penguins rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits in the third period.
Wayne Simmonds scored twice for the Flyers.
Avalanche 1, Blues 0 — David Jones scored with 17 seconds left in overtime and Semyon Varlamov made 33 saves to get host Colorado past St. Louis.
Kings 3, Flames 1 — Jeff Carter had a goal and an assist, lifting visiting Los Angeles over Calgary.