VANCOUVER, B.C. — What a difference a week has made.

The Avalanche extended their winning streak to four games on Friday, defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 at Rogers Arena. Colorado (24-17-3) has completely dominated play over the past week. It’s outscored the opposition 21-5 since Saturday and has never trailed. In each of the four games, the Avs scored at least the first three before conceding.

“Seems like we’re defending less and playing more in their end,” Forward Andrew Cogliano said. “We got guys like Val (Nichushkin) and Mikko (Rantanen) and Nate (MacKinnon), when they get zone time, they turn the tide of the game and they’re tough to handle so it just seems like the pace of our game is a lot higher.”

For the second straight night, Cale Makar was absent because of an injury. The All-Star defenseman could play in Seattle on Saturday. But without him, Devon Toews once again led the way, assuming No. 1 defenseman duties and playing a team-high 23:43. Toews again started the game alongside veteran Erik Johnson but played with others at times as coach Jared Bednar dressed seven defensemen.

“I don’t think anything really changes when I play with them, or when I play with Cale,” Toews said. “I think we’re just trying to play our team game. The way our structure sits, it allows the D to be active and play a little bit more free. So without Cale, it could sometimes be a little more difficult.”

Cogliano gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. Valeri Nichushkin, Mikko Rantanen and Brad Hunt added tallies in the second, where Colorado capitalized on the power play twice and added another 5-on-5 goal for good measure.

Alexandar Georgiev was in goal for the second straight game. Georgiev stopped 28-of-29 as both teams ended the night with 29 shots on goal.

Prior to Cogliano’s opening tally, both teams were getting good looks with Georgiev and Canucks goalie Colin Delia keeping the game scoreless. The Canucks got the game’s first power play — a high-sticking penalty called on Cogliano — but were unable to beat Georgiev. Moments after the successful kill for the Avs, forward Alex Newhook was relentless in setting up Cogliano for the goal. His aggressive backcheck was paramount in taking the puck away from Conor Garland and starting the play the other way. After the Avs dumped it in, Newhook successfully battled for puck possession with J.T. Miller, sending the pass to Cogliano, who beat Delia clean.

Cogliano also had three minor penalties, which the Avalanche successfully killed off each time.

“It’s kind of driving up Alex’s competitiveness,” Bednar said of Newhook’s chemistry with both Logan O’Connor and Cogliano. “Those two guys are highly competitive all over the rink. They have a specific role and job to do on our team and I think Newy’s done a nice job of filling in there.”

Colorado eventually got a late power play. While on the man advantage, Artturi Lehkonen cut to the net and nearly scored, drawing a holding penalty on Luke Schenn in the process to give the Avs a 5-on-3 for 49 seconds to start the second period. Colorado used five forwards to account for another righty on the top unit without Makar.

And just 34 seconds in, Nichushkin added to the lead. The tally was his first since Oct. 25 at Madison Square Garden. Nichushkin started the season with seven goals in seven games before an ankle injury kept him out for the next 17. He has since missed more time before returning again on Monday. Despite the injuries, Nichushkin has 18 points in 18 games.

“It’s nice to see him get rewarded for his hard work,” Bednar said of Nichushkin, who scored his first goal in 11 games. “When guys are putting in the work and don’t get any production out of it, it kind of gets frustrating and guys will start to branch off and try to do their own thing. If they’re getting rewarded for their hard work and capitalizing on a few chances here and there, it keeps everyone playing the right way.”

Rantanen’s goal, his 32nd of the season, ties him with Buffalo center Tage Thompson for third in the NHL. It was just his sixth on the power play. The Avalanche’s power play started the season hot but took a major dip over the past couple of months. But along with the rest of their play, special teams have been solid over the past four games.

Ever since falling 3-2 to the then-last-place Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado is 6-for-13 on the power play and 10-for-11 on the penalty kill. The Avs have at least one power-play goal in each of the four games.

“I thought the guys did a great job. It seems like we’re just pressuring a lot better,” Cogliano said of the team’s PK. ” (Assistant coach Nolan Pratt) made a couple of adjustments for us to be a little more on our toes and I thought guys did a great job killing.”

It’s no question the Avs have leaned heavily on their top stars. Take Nathan MacKinnon, for example. After another two-assist game, MacKinnon has 12 points in his last five games and became just the second player in franchise history to record multiple assists in five consecutive games. Rantanen has also been on fire. But once again, Colorado’s depth has stepped up. Missing Cale Makar for the second straight game, the Avalanche had another goal from Brad Hunt. It was his third in seven games and another key tally from the lower lines.

J.T. Compher, who has played among the top six all season because of injuries, also stepped up with a crucial assist on the Nichushkin goal. It was his 20th helper of the year, which ties a career-high with 38 games remaining before the end of the season.