DENVER — It took four periods for the defending champions to break through. And they kicked the door down on their way in.

The Avalanche trailed by two goals after the first 20 minutes on Thursday and looked sloppy, exhausted and uninspired. But they found a way to finally make things interesting in the second before taking their first lead of the series with 7:01 remaining in the third. Defenseman Devon Toews’ go-ahead goal helped Colorado to a 3-2 victory, evening the series at 1-1 against the visiting Seattle Kraken before heading on the road for the next two games.

“It’s one period of a 60-minute game. So for us, we knew what the things are that we have to do in order to win games and just the first period, our standard wasn’t there,” superstar defenseman Cale Makar said. “So it’s just getting back to that and hopefully we can continue to carry that on.”

Makar was one of four blueliners to find the scoresheet. He had an assist on the first goal. His new linemate Bowen Byram also had an assist. And the pairing of Samuel Girard (assist) and Toews (goal, assist) also had big offensive nights.

Forwards Artturi Lehkonen and Valeri Nichushkin scored the two second-period goals that gave the Avalanche and the Ball Arena crowd new life.

“We started to see what our team can do once we scored the first goal,” head coach Jared Bednar said.

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It took several minutes for the Avalanche to truly wake up in the second. But from the opening shift, a scoring chance for MacKinnon — the first real dangerous opportunity against Seattle goalie Philipp Grubauer — provided a glimmer of hope for Avs faithful. Colorado continued to slowly turn it on before finally breaking through.

After winning a faceoff in the offensive zone, the puck found Makar, who fired a shot on goal from the point, which was deflected by Lehkonen to make it a one-goal game. The crowd was re-engaged, the Avalanche celebrated the breakthrough and fed off that energy to add another shortly thereafter.

On the following shift, Rodrigues found Nichushkin, who skated in all alone and beat Grubauer on the backhand. It knotted things up at 2-2 as both teams continued to exchange chances the rest of the way.

Colorado goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made his mark on the team in the closing minutes of the second period. Georgiev was crucial in killing off a late MacKinnon high-sticking penalty, making two key pad saves and getting help from both Girard and Erik Johnson with shot blocks. And right before the buzzer, a Seattle 3-on-1 saw Georgiev confidently push from left to right to stop Jordan Eberle with a stretched right pad.

Georgiev stopped all 12 shots he faced in the second period and 27 overall. The Avs outshot the Kraken 41-29.

“Every single game we could talk about him because he always makes big saves when we need it,” Makar said of Georgiev.

Bednar was also complimentary of his goalie. Not just when the game was tied, but also in the uninspiring opening 20 minutes.

“That was the worst period we’ve played in the series so far. Except for one guy. Georgie,” Bednar said.

It’s no question the Avalanche will face a raucous crowd in Game 3 — the first-ever home playoff game in Kraken history. But the Avs, a team with 29 road wins in the regular season and winners of their last 11, are prepared for the challenge as they look to take control of a first-round matchup that has caught them by surprise thus far.

“We feel like a pesky group and we know it’s gonna be a really good environment there,” Lehkonen said. “It’s gonna be fun for sure.”