WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Jets had no answer for Matt Duchene on Thursday night.
Duchene scored twice in regulation to rally the Colorado Avalanche from a two-goal deficit, then had the deciding goal in the shootout to defeat the Jets 4-3 at MTS Centre.
The win moved the Avalanche, who had lost two in a row and three of their past four, nine points ahead of the Jets in the Central Division. Despite its recent struggles, the Avalanche has 21 wins in its first 30 games, matching a franchise record set twice before.
Duchene also assisted on a goal by Ryan O'Reilly to help the Avalanche overcome a 2-0 deficit. Winnipeg's Blake Wheeler had his first two-goal game since March 19, 2013, and Michael Frolik scored the Jets' other goal.
Wheeler scored a power-play goal halfway through the third period to send the game past regulation, but the shootout victory improved Colorado's record when leading after two periods to 18-0-0.
Varlamov stopped 35 shots through 65 minutes. Pavelec started for the fifth time in six games for the Jets and made 23 saves.
Wheeler and Frolik gave the Jets a 2-0 advantage in the first 5:45 of the opening period as the Jets recorded seven of the game's first eight shots.
Colorado is 17-0-0 this season when scoring first, but the Jets carried the first period, building a 2-0 lead and taking a 12-2 shots advantage by the period's midpoint.
But Duchene made it 2-1 at 15:08, ending a seven-game stretch without a goal.
The Jets outshot Colorado 14-4 in the first period, and the Avalanche had managed six shots through the opening 30 minutes before it awakened, firing 12 shots at Pavelec during the latter 10 minutes of the second period.
O'Reilly tied the game at 14:47 with his 10th goal, and Duchene put Colorado ahead for the first time when he scored his 14th of the season at 19:57. It was his third three-point night of the season.
Wheeler's tying goal came with two seconds left on a penalty to Colorado defenseman Cory Sarich.
The Jets went ahead on their second shot of the game when Wheeler spun and directed a shot from the bottom of the right circle that deflected off a skate and trickled past Varlamov 24 seconds into the game. The goal was his third in a span of 19 games dating to Oct. 29.
Back-to-back minor penalties to Colorado defensemen Erik Johnson and Nate Guenin put Colorado two-men down. Colorado killed off Johnson's minor, but Jets rookie defenseman Jacob Trouba fired a low, hard shot from the point that Frolik tipped past Varlamov at 5:45 for his eighth of the season. The eight goals are the most he's had since scoring 11 with the Florida Panthers in 2010-11.
A center-ice collision between Wheeler and Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon set up the Avalanche's first goal. Duchene scooped up the loose puck at the Winnipeg blue line and outraced Dustin Byfuglien before he tucked the puck past Pavelec.
Duchene and O'Reilly combined on the Avalanche's second goal after several minutes of sustained offensive pressure. Duchene circled behind the Winnipeg net and slipped a pass to O'Reilly, who lifted a shot from the left of the net over Pavelec's left shoulder.
Duchene put the Avalanche ahead when a Winnipeg turnover in the Colorado zone set up a transition rush for the Avalanche. MacKinnon sped past Wheeler down the left boards and put a shot on Pavelec; Duchene stuffed the rebound into the net for his second goal of the game.
Wheeler tied it when he took the rebound of Mark Scheifele's shot and nudged it past Varlamov.