DENVER — Overcoming four-goal deficits aren’t supposed to be easy. The Avalanche fought valiantly but couldn’t get the game-tying goal to claw back from the large deficit against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.

An empty-net goal from Nico Hischier sealed Colorado’s fate, falling 7-5 at Ball Arena to put an end to a six-game winning streak. They trailed 5-1 early in the second period but clawed back to make it 5-4 and 6-5.

“Second period when we broke them down, we had a bunch of really good looks,” head coach Jared Bednar said. “That was the frustrating part. We work all the way back to 5-4, and then we probably had five or six looks with our guys all alone. … We missed on all those opportunities.”

Trailing 5-1 early in the second period, the Avs scored three times in a 2:04 stretch to gain momentum and avoid a lopsided loss. After defenseman Josh Manson set up Mikko Rantanen for a tap-in goal, the Avs added another tally thanks to superstar Nathan MacKinnon’s second of the evening. And on the ensuing shift, center J.T. Compher came in on a 2-on-1 and chose to shoot, beating goalie Vitek Vanecek clean to make it 5-4.

New Jersey added a goal later in the frame to regain the same two-goal lead they had after 20 minutes.

But just over a minute into the third, Valeri Nichushkin capitalized on a fortuitous bounce for the Avalanche to make it 6-5. The Devils challenged the play for offside but were unsuccessful. But Colorado was unable to do much with the power play, its first of the game.

Following the Nichushkin goal, Vanecek was pulled and replaced by backup Akira Schmid. The rookie netminder stopped all 12 shots he faced.

MacKinnon’s two goals were his 23rd and 24th of the season. He has scored in each of his last five games. Rantanen’s goal, his 41st in just 59 games, extended his goal-scoring streak to six games — matching his career-high from 2021.

“When you’re playing from behind you start rolling those guys out a little bit more,” Bednar said of his top stars. “And [MacKinnon] got us started with the first goal. I mean, he was good tonight. He was making plays and he was dangerous.”

In goal, Colorado gave young goalie Justus Annunen his second start of the season and fourth of his career. It was an opportunity to rest starter Alexandar Georgiev, who is 10-1-1 in his last 12 games. Annunen struggled early but the team in front of him didn’t provide much help. His game settled in after the midway point.

“We hung him out to dry. Way too many chances in the first period,” Bednar said of Annunen. “There are some saves that I would have liked to see him make, for sure, but he did make a handful of big saves when we were pushing the second period.”

Georgiev’s extra day off will give him ample time to prepare for this weekend’s back-to-back. Bednar says he has confidence his starter could play both nights.

Colorado acquired center Lars Eller from the Washington Capitals earlier in the day. The 33-year-old veteran flew in and made his debut hours after the deal. He centered the third line with linemates Matt Nieto and Evan Rodrigues.