Canadiens President Geoff Molson will hold a press conference at 11:45 a.m. to discuss the move.
The Canadiens have won just two of their last eight games (2-2-4), and enter Thursday's games 15th in the Eastern Conference and 28th in the League. Gauthier had held his current position since Feb. 8, 2010, when he replaced Bob Gainey.
The Canadiens finished eighth in the Eastern Conference that season, but led by goalie Jaroslav Halak, they upset the Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington Capitals and defending Stanley Cup-champion Pittsburgh Penguins to advance to the conference finals, where they lost in five games to the Philadelphia Flyers. Last season, the Canadiens finished sixth in the East with 96 points, and after taking a 2-0 first-round lead on the Boston Bruins, fell in seven games to the eventual Stanley Cup champions.
This season, however, things slipped early. When the team won just once in its first eight games, Gauthier responded by firing assistant coach Perry Pearn hours before an Oct. 27 game against the Philadelphia Flyers. That sparked a four-game win streak, but it didn't last. Gauthier fired coach Jacques Martin prior to a Dec. 17 game against the New Jersey Devils, replacing him on an interim basis with assistant coach Randy Cunneyworth. However, that decision sparked controversy as Cunneyworth spoke no French.