NEWARK - (AP) - The New Jersey Devils fired rookie coachJohn MacLean on Thursday and brought back Jacques Lemaire toreplace him.

The Devils have been one of the most disappointing teams in theNHL this season. New Jersey is tied with the New York Islanders forthe fewest points in the league with 20 in 33 games (9-22-2).

The Devils play at home against the Islanders on Thursday nightand Lemaire is expected to be with the team.

The Devils, a perennial contender in the Eastern Conference,were expected to be among the leaders again this season aftersigning All-Star forward Ilya Kovalchuk to a 15-year, $100 millioncontract in the offseason.

The 65-year-old Lemaire, who retired after leading the Devils tothe playoffs last season, will be in his third stint as NewJersey's coach. He guided the franchise to its first Stanley Cup in1995.