DENVER — Three things held the Avalanche afloat during their hot stretch in November: Exceptional play from superstar center Nathan MacKinnon, a dominant power play and Vezina-caliber goaltending from Alexandar Georgiev.

Through the first five games without an injured MacKinnon, both the power play and Georgiev cooled off, and the Avalanche struggled to gain any type of consistency. But that all changed on Saturday. Sure, MacKinnon is still absent and is expected to be out until after the new year. But the power play stepped up, scoring for the first time since he went down, and Georgiev made 25 saves to lift Colorado to a 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators at Ball Arena.

It was just the second time in seven games that Georgiev had surrendered fewer than three goals. And just his second win in that same stretch. For a team that usually thrives on scoring goals in bunches, Georgiev’s solid performance is much-needed at a time when injuries have halted that offensive power.

“We have to find ways to win,” Georgiev said. “Lately it’s been a little less score games but we managed to win three out of four. We have to play smart and not sell out for offense. Keep playing patient.”

Colorado’s power-play goal came from Mikko Rantanen. His 21st of the season is also his sixth in six games without MacKinnon in the lineup. The rest of the team has just five goals in that stretch. Rantanen has also scored 24% of the Avs’ total goals all year.

On the power play, Rantanen used a screen in front to wire one past Nashville goalie Juuse Saros to make it 1-0. Saros lost his stick while making an earlier save and was screened by Avs forward Artturi Lehkonen, who was battling for positioning with defender Kevin Gravel.

Rantanen’s leadership since MacKinnon’s injury has been on notice. Both in his production and otherwise.

“Face-offs in the o-zone, he’s gathering everyone together, getting them on the same page. Power play, you’re seeing him do the same thing,” head coach Jared Bednar said of Rantanen. “Someone has to do it. You need someone on the ice sort of taking control of the situation and making sure everyone’s on the same page in order to be organized and productive.”

Before the end of the period, Colorado extended the lead thanks to Alex Newhook’s seventh goal of the season. Newhook collected a pass from Evan Rodrigues and scored to make it 2-0 with just 15.5 seconds remaining. The goal proved to be crucial for Colorado, as former Avalanche center Matt Duchene quickly cut the lead back to a goal just over three minutes into the third.

Newhook was reunited with Valeri Nichushkin and Evan Rodrigues on the second line, where the trio started the season. But unlike their first stint together, Newhook and Rodrigues swapped positions, putting Newhook on the wing.

“I like him better at the wing. I think he skates better at the wing,” Bednar said of Newhook.

With Rodrigues’ ability to shift to center as a right-handed shot, Bednar said he’ll use Newhook (shoots left) and Rodrigues the same way he usually uses Rantanen and MacKinnon on the top line.

“It’s great. two guys that were out for a little bit, but to have both of them back adds a lot to our lineup,” Newhook said of being reunited with his linemates. “A lot of fun to play with both those guys.”

The Avs were able to keep Nashville from tying it up before adding the empty netter from Cale Makar. Georgiev stopped seven of eight shots in the third period. His biggest against Filip Forsberg with 37 seconds remaining.

The Avalanche’s power play has been fascinating to track through the first 28 games. They spent a majority of the season atop the NHL but haven’t drawn as many penalties as in years past. A large part of what they lost with Nazem Kadri’s departure was his ability to draw penalties. And even more so with injuries to Gabriel Landeskog all season and Valeri Nichushkin for a large chunk of it. And of course, MacKinnon’s absence since Dec. 5.

In the six games without MacKinnon, Colorado is 1-for-16 with the man advantage, with the lone goal being Rantanen’s tally in the first period. The Avs’ 2.66 power plays per game are among the bottom third in the NHL. They’ve also surrendered a shorthanded goal in that time. For reference, the Ottawa Senators lead the NHL over the past six games with a whopping 29 power-play opportunities and 11 goals.