The Colorado Avalanche: News from around the NHL - May 8th, 2014

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Penguins have a 3-1 series lead on the Rangers.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have had so much success at Madison Square Garden, they might not have to make a return trip to Broadway until next season.

Brandon Sutter scored a short-handed goal to break a second-period tie, and the Penguins rode that momentum to move within one win of the Eastern Conference finals with a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.

Pittsburgh, which has won three straight following a series-opening loss, can advance with a Game 5 victory at home Friday night. The Penguins are looking to reach the East finals for the second straight year and the fourth in seven seasons.

“We know they are going to be desperate,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “They have a lot of depth, and a lot of guys that can create things, so we have to have the same mentality that we had.”

More coaching changes.

It was another noteworthy day on the NHL coaching front, the carousel spinning again and spitting out Peter Laviolette as the new coach of the Nashville Predators, replacing Barry Trotz.

Laviolette is now with his fourth NHL team since 2001, and in that span, has experienced the dizzying highs and crazy lows of an oh-so-fickle profession. Laviolette was the genius who coached the Carolina Hurricanes to the 2006 Stanley Cup final, and then was deemed the impediment to Philadelphia’s success, getting fired three games into this season after it was determined the Flyers couldn’t possibly make the playoffs if he stayed on.

Will the Leafs try to make a play for the Number 1 pick?

If it was a year from now and the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft was up for auction, there would be a massive scramble by clubs to get their bids in.

It wouldn’t be quite like the feeding frenzy that ensued when the Quebec Nordiques gave up and finally decided to trade the rights to Eric Lindros, but it would be close.

Connor McDavid is that good. Moreover, U.S. prospect Jack Eichel is being mentioned in the same breath now as McDavid, setting up something along the lines of Taylor versus Tyler or Nathan McKinnon versus Seth Jones.

McDavid we know about. Eichel, meanwhile, tore up the USHL this season with the U.S. national development program and has committed to attend Boston University next season, although the QMJHL Saint John Sea Dogs own his major junior rights and there’s lots of chatter the Quebec Remparts would like to get their hands on those.

But that’s next year. This year’s draft is another animal altogether, which is why last week’s pronouncement by Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon that he plans to aggressively shop the top pick came and went with little fanfare.

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