It was a night of firsts for a pair of Avs on Saturday as Colorado skated to a 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at Pepsi Center. Defenseman Erik Johnson saw his first game action  since a broken fibula sidelined him on Dec. 3. And rookie goaltender Jeremy Smith earned his first career NHL victory.

The 27-year-old Michigan native debuted for Colorado on Valentine’s Day, allowing three goals on 40 shots in a losing effort. Smith made 34 saves and survived an onslaught from Buffalo in the second period to pick up his first win in an Avalanche sweater. The Sabres put 13 shots on net in the second period, scoring twice, but Colorado kept its distance thanks to a Blake Comeau goal off a rebound.

The Avs jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first period on goals by Gabriel LandeskogMikhail Grigorenko  and Tyson Barrie. Landeskog put the game out of reach with a final tally inside of 1:00 remaining in the third. He assisted on Comeau’s goal to earn first star honors. Johnson had an assist in 17:35 of ice time in his first game back since the injury.

The win was Colorado’s eighth home win and first at Pepsi Center since winning back-to-back games Feb. 4 and 7. The Avs depart for an east-coast road trip starting with a nationally televised game Tuesday in Philadelphia. They face league leaders Washington on Thursday and Ottawa on Saturday before returning home for a tough back-to-back, hosting St. Louis on Sunday.