DENVER — Alexandar Georgiev didn’t have his best performance between the pipes on Saturday. But it was his inability to remain even-keeled after surrendering the fourth goal that helped head coach Jared Bednar in deciding to pull him.

Georgiev had allowed four goals on 13 shots and the Avs were down by two to the Nashville Predators at Ball Arena. Following the goal, Georgiev shot the puck into the crowd in frustration and was assessed a two-minute minor unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Bednar replaced him with Justus Annunen, who came in and stopped all 22 shots he faced the rest of the way.

Colorado went on to score five straight goals to defeat Nashville 7-4 and clinch a spot in the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs.

“That was part of it,” Bednar said of the penalty leading to Georgiev getting pulled. “I just thought he wasn’t sharp, so I decided to make the change.”

Annunen has been a shining late for Colorado since his most recent call-up in February. The 24-year-old is 6-3-1 on the season and boasts a .931 save percentage with two shutouts.

“He’s played really well for us,” Bednar said of Annunen. “If he keeps having starts like that and playing like that, the confidence is growing every day.”

The Avs had goals from Jonathan Drouin, Casey Mittelstadt, Artturi Lehkonen, Cale Makar, Yakov Trenin and two from Nathan MacKinnon. They scored twice in the final 95 seconds of the second period to get ahead for the first time all game before adding two more in the third period. Trenin, who was acquired from these same Preds ahead of the trade deadline, scored the game-winning goal.

For Trenin, it was his second goal since joining Colorado and his first time getting to celebrate the way he often enjoys celebrating goals — by jumping into the glass.

“It’s my signature,” Trenin said of his ecstatic celebration. “Today I went on one knee then I saw the glass and thought I have to go in.”

Before Trenin’s goal, Colorado found itself on the power play trailing by one. Makar, who already had two assists, was tripped up while setting up possession in the offensive zone. The referees failed to call a penalty which would’ve given the Avs a lengthy 5-on-3. But moments later, Makar sniped it past goalie Kevin Lankinen to tie it up at 4-4.

His 19th of the season ties Nashville’s Roman Josi for most among defensemen.

Trenin’s tally to put Colorado ahead came just 1:06 later.

The two points pushed Colorado to 100 on the season — amassing the feat for the third straight season. It’s the seventh straight year the Avs will take part in the playoffs as they continue to tussle with the other top Western Conference teams for positioning. The Avalanche are one point back of the Dallas Stars and two up on the Vancouver, though the Canucks have a game in hand. Colorado has one game remaining against the Stars this season.

Five-Minute major

Following the successful penalty kill on Georgiev’s minor penalty, Ross Colton, who was serving the minor, exited the box before getting hit up high by Preds defenseman Ryan McDonagh. His former Lightning teammate, McDonagh, was assessed a five-minute major and a match penalty for an illegal check to the head. On the ensuing power play, Lehkonen scored to pull Colorado within a goal.

The Avs had several opportunities in the remaining 2:28 of the major to tie it up but were unable to get a second one past Lankinen. Despite just the single goal in five minutes, the Avs’ power play was still red hot, scoring three times on six tries.

Nathan MacKinnon has four points

Two nights after his historic 35-game home point streak came to an end, MacKinnon made sure to get right back on the offensive. He set up Drouin’s first-period goal and later had an assist on Mittelstadt’s power-play goal. And in the third period, MacKinnon scored twice to cap off another four-point performance.

MacKinnon climbed ahead of both Connor McDavid and Nikita Kucherov in the NHL points race. His 127 are two more than both of his competitors, although Colorado has two fewer games remaining than McDavid’s Oilers and one fewer than Kucherov’s Lightning.