DENVER — What looked like a vintage Avalanche victory — complete with an offensive surge in the second period — ended up being one of the tougher losses to swallow.

The Avs scored four goals in the middle frame to build a two-goal lead before falling 5-4 in the shootout to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. It was the fourth straight game at Ball Arena to end in overtime or beyond but the first one where Colorado was unable to secure the second point.

Leading 4-2 entering the third period, the Avalanche gave up a power-play goal just over a minute in before Sean Walker tied it up at 4-4 with 5:40 remaining. On the power-play tally, defenseman Brad Hunt was called for interference for whacking at the puck while sitting on the bench. Had his stick not made contact with the puck, it potentially could’ve cleared over the glass for a delay of game penalty.

“I didn’t mean any harm by it,” said Hunt, who described the play as instinctive. “It’s interference. It is what it is. I didn’t know that was a penalty but it is and we learned from it.”

The Avs trailed 1-0 after the first period and then 2-1 after a goal from J.T. Compher finally beat goalie Pheonix Copley. Colorado was outshot 12-7 through 20 minutes of play and had little to no opportunities. It was the same type of dull opening period they’d had for nearly all of December. The Avs have just one first-period goal since Dec. 10.

“I didn’t hate the start, but I didn’t love it either,” head coach Jared Bednar said. “I didn’t like the first goal that we gave up and I didn’t like the last rush goal that we gave up.”

Colorado’s wasted offensive surge in the second period was vintage Cale Makar doing vintage Makar things.

The Avalanche’s superstar defenseman has once again been their best blueliner this season but you could argue he hasn’t been the same dominant player he was a year ago. Makar had a goal and two assists in a 2:49 stretch in the second period.

“I loved his second period he really got going,” Bednar said. “Third period was good again. I thought he was a big difference-maker for us tonight.”

It was the third time Makar has recorded three points in a single period in his career and just his second three-point effort this season. Trailing 2-1 late in the middle frame, Makar set up veteran forward Andrew Cogliano, who entered the zone and wired a shot past goalie Pheonix Copley to tie things up. On the next shift, Makar intercepted a pass at center ice, entered the offensive zone with speed, used Drew Doughty as a screen and fired it past Copley to give Colorado the lead. Just two minutes later, Makar’s speed and skill were once again a factor. He entered the zone and deked past L.A’s Phillip Danault, circled the goal and sent the puck to Mikko Rantanen, who quickly fed it to Evan Rodrigues for one of the prettier goals they’ve had all season.

Cogliano, Makar and Rodrigues scored on three consecutive shots

“I just saw Mikko [with] good net-front position. Just tried to feed it to him and he made an incredible play,” Makar said of the fourth goal.

In goal, Alexandar Georgiev struggled for the second straight game. He stopped just 23-of-27 shots and 1-of-3 in the shootout.