DENVER — Playing catch-up hockey isn’t quite the best recipe for success. Even a team as strong as the Avalanche have been, with the resiliency this group has had to make successful comebacks, will eventually reach its limit.

That limit was surpassed on Saturday. In the team’s first matinee game at Ball Arena this season, the Avs erased a three-goal deficit and clawed back from behind twice before giving up the game to the Florida Panthers. The visitors scored the first three and the last four goals of the game — including two empty netters — to double up the Avs 8-4. The game was knotted up at 4-4 in the early stages of the third period.

“You don’t want to be chasing against good hockey teams,” forward Andrew Cogliano said. “It’s even harder to get goals and taxes a lot of our top-end guys to produce.”

Goaltender Ivan Prosvetov got the nod in goal — his first appearance in three weeks — and surrendered three goals on the first four shots he faced.

“The first goal is routine coverage. We duplicate on a guy below the goal and leave the net front open,” head coach Jared Bednar said, assessing his team’s slow start. “Then we’re covering for the D in the offensive zone and we don’t stay there and they get a breakaway. I didn’t like those two goals. The other ones are probably on the goaltending.”

Prosvetov was pulled after the fourth goal. Colorado clawed back from the three-goal deficit in the first 4:35 of the second period before the fourth puck passed him off what looked like a harmless point shot from Panthers defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. That’s when Bednar had seen enough.

“I certainly didn’t like the fourth one so I wanted to give our team a chance,” Bednar said of the decision to turn to Alexandar Georgiev. “If they were going to battle like the way they did in the second period to come back, then I wanted to give them the best chance to try and succeed if they’re going to dig in. Which they did. That’s why the timing of the pull.”

Colorado’s goals came from Cale Makar, Josh Manson, Valeri Nichushkin and Jonathan Drouin. Many of the players who entered the game riding hot streaks continued to produce. Superstar center Nathan MacKinnon set up the Avs’ first goal, continuing his season-opening home points streak. MacKinnon has a point in each of the Avs’ first 21 games at Ball Arena (16-5-0).

Just 21 seconds into the second period, Makar received a pass from MacKinnon and fired a swift wrist shot past goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to make it 3-1. And just 31 seconds later, a point shot from Manson was stopped by Bobrovsky before the puck went up and over the goalie, eventually trickling in.

Makar and Manson’s goals, both within the first 52 seconds of the frame, set an NHL record. It was the first time in history that two defensemen from the same team scored in the opening minute of any period.

Manson’s tally was his fifth of the season — just two back of his career-best and it comes before the midway point of the season.

Colorado quickly added another before the period was five minutes old. But it came on the power play after chaos ensued in the Panthers’ zone. Avs defenseman Samuel Girard fell into Bobrovsky and was called for goalie interference. But before the play was whistled down, Panthers star forward Matthew Tkachuk went after Girard, who was lying on his back inside the net, and eventually dropped the gloves with the smaller Girard.

Tkachuk received four minutes for roughing, and the Avs took advantage of that power-play opportunity just 35 seconds later. This time it was Nichushkin in his office, parked in front of the opposing netminder’s crease, tipping in a point shot from Makar.

Nichushkin’s 20th of the season puts him among the league’s highest goal scorers. He became the 14th player to reach the 20-goal threshold and the third on the Avs. Colorado is the only team to have three players reach the mark, with MacKinnon (22) and Mikko Rantanen (20).

The Avs made two changes to the lineup that was victorious in Dallas two nights prior. Miles Wood (illness) was scratched and replaced by call-up Ben Meyers. And defenseman Bowen Byram, who suffered a lower-body injury against the Stars, missed his first full game.

Bednar said postgame that Byram would miss somewhere between 7-14 days. He was placed on the injured reserve list on Friday.