DENVER — What looked like it had the potential to be a one-sided beating similar to Colorado’s shutout victory over San Jose earlier in the week turned out to be the exact opposite. Well, kind of. The Avalanche entered Saturday’s third period knotted up with the Arizona Coyotes — a bottom-five team in the NHL — before outshooting them 18-0 in the frame. They were unable to beat goaltender Connor Ingram to snag the win until Cale Makar ended it in overtime to give the Avalanche a 3-2 victory at Ball Arena. The Avs were dominant for a majority of the game following a sluggish start and were rewarded for it.

“We started checking. Doing things right. First period we did not,” head coach Jared Bednar said. “We created some scoring chances off the rush in the first but the checking part of our game to start tonight was terrible again.

“Buy-in commitment to play the right way and everything turned for us.”

Colorado (36-22-6, 78 points) pulled within three points of the Minnesota Wild for second in the Central Division with a game in hand. The Wild take on the Sharks late Saturday night.

Forward Denis Malgin and superstar center Nathan MacKinnon also scored for the Avalanche, who embark on a four-game road trip that begins Monday in Montreal and ends next Saturday in Detroit. Colorado has as many wins on the road as it does at home despite playing four fewer games away from Denver.

“We’ve had this dominant home record for the last few seasons and we’re not quite there this year,” Bednar said. “But we have also been really competitive on the road for the last few seasons as well. I don’t know that the venue matters that much. It’s just more the belief and the way we play.”

Tied at 2-2 heading into overtime, Bednar started with J.T. Compher, Valeri Nichushkin and Devon Toews. He chose to keep his three-headed monster on the bench to reward Compher for defending against Clayton Keller and his line throughout the game. Compher’s faceoff prowess was also crucial in a period where possession matters so much.

“He’s our main faceoff guy and has been for quite a bit of the year in terms of winning key draws,” Makar said of Compher. “So obviously you want to win because right now 3-on-3 is such a possession game. We saw that last overtime we didn’t even touch the puck.”

The Avs trailed 2-1 before MacKinnon tallied a power-play goal to knot things up in the middle frame. MacKinnon received a pass from linemate Mikko Rantanen and wired it past Ingram with Rantanen screening in front. Colorado failed to score on two previous uninspiring power plays but got the jolt it needed from its top forward. It was MacKinnon’s 15th goal in 16 games since the All-Star break as he inches closer to reaching the 30-goal plateau for the fifth time in his career.

MacKinnon also has goals in nine consecutive home games, breaking a franchise record held by Quebec Nordiques great Michel Goulet and Avalanche legend Joe Sakic.

The Avs opened the scoring early in the first period. Malgin used his speed to skate up the wing, beating the defender and flipping a backhander past Ingram. Malgin’s tally was his sixth in 13 games as he continues to provide depth scoring from the bottom six. The Coyotes answered back quickly. Forward Jack McBain beat Georgiev at 6:50.

And before the intermission, Keller beat Georgiev once more to give Arizona the lead. The shots were 12-12 through 20 minutes and the game was wide open. But Colorado outshot the visitors 32-8 the rest of the way, which included a stretch of more than 21 minutes without a shot for the Coyotes to end the game.

Georgiev made 18 saves, stopping the eight he faced after the first intermission, to earn his 28th victory of the season. He could become the third goalie in three seasons — and eighth overall — to record 30 wins for the Avs.