DENVER — The trip to Finland may have been exactly what the Avalanche needed.

Following two dominating performances in Europe and four days off, the Avs continued their hot stretch on Thursday with a 5-3 victory over the Nashville Predators at Ball Arena.

Logan O’Connor and Mikko Rantanen each scored two goals and Evan Rodrigues had one. Colorado used a four-goal outburst in the second period to run away with the lead.

Listen to “Avs defeat Nashville 5-3” on Spreaker.

The Avalanche got off to a slow start as Nashville had nine of the first 12 shots and an early 1-0 advantage. Forward Eli Tolvanen finished off a nifty passing play to put the Preds ahead. The momentum from the goal carried over for a few shifts before a cross-checking penalty to Ryan McDonagh flipped the script.

Colorado took control and the top unit wasted little time. Nathan MacKinnon sent a cross-ice pass to Rantanen for the one-timer from his office. The superstar duo kept the foot on the pedal all period long, combining for 10 of the team’s 21 shots. Following McDonagh’s penalty, Colorado had a 14-3 advantage the rest of the way.

“I think we were a little bit sloppy in the first period probably,” Rantanen said. “We were better after that.”

MacKinnon finished two assists and eight shots in 22:50.

The Avs picked up where they left off in the second period, storming out of the gate to score four goals in an 8:48 stretch. O’Connor started it with a tipped puck off a Devon Toews shot. He then added another on the breakaway 1:25 later. Following a successful penalty kill on a Rantanen minor call, the forward was sprung in on a breakaway right out of the box to make it 4-1 before Rodrigues added a power-play tally to extend the lead to four.

It was a strong offensive showing for the third straight game.

“Our game has really evolved a little bit over the past week,” O’Connor said. “We’re doing a lot of the right things.”

Colorado’s league-best power play went 2-for-3 with both goals coming from its top unit.

The Avs had to pull deep down the depth chart to dress a full lineup following a laundry list of injuries in Finland. Defensemen Bowen Byram (one month) and Samuel Girard (day to day) will both miss time. Valeri Nichushkin, who has missed the last five games, is expected back next month.

Without them, the team called up both Sampo Ranta and Shane Bowers and dressed Kurtis MacDermid and Jacob MacDonald on the back end.

For Ranta, it was his first taste of NHL action since early last season. For Bowers, it was an opportunity to finally make his NHL debut. He was the final first-round pick in 2017 to dress in an NHL game and had grinded for a half-decade since being acquired in the Matt Duchene blockbuster deal.

Bowers’ night came to an unfortunate end in the first period. Following a battle in the corner, the 23-year-old went down to the ice and skated off favoring his shoulder. It was later announced that he was out with an upper-body injury and would not return. He played just three shifts, finishing with one shot in 1:46.

There was no update on his status following the game.

“Sucks. Waited his whole life to get here to play this game and he gets hurt, couple seconds into his third shift,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “You have to feel for the kid but injuries are part of the game. It happens.”

Colorado turned to goalie Alexandar Georgiev for the ninth time in the first 12 games. He responded with his third straight win, improving to 7-1-1 on the season. Georgiev made 32 saves, most of which came after the Avs led by multiple goals.

“You have to play every moment like it’s a tied game,” Georgiev said. “It helps the guys a lot to feel confident.”

Aarif Deen is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completing his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked as the assistant sports information director for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department.
Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif

Listen to “Avs defeat Nashville 5-3” on Spreaker.