OTTAWA -- Matt Duchene had two goals and an assist for the Ottawa Senators in a 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Canadian Tire Centre on Wednesday.
"I don't know if you could've written it better," said Duchene, who missed the previous three games because of the birth of his first child, Beau David Newell Duchene. "It's a very special feeling. … I think I play my best when I'm light and happy. This week's been the best week of my life."
Ryan Dzingel had a goal and an assist, and Anders Nilsson made 30 saves for the Senators (18-24-5), who won for the third time in four games.
[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Senators highlights]
"We had some huge efforts from everybody tonight," Duchene said. "[Nilsson] was outstanding, [Jean-Gabriel Pageau's] line did a really good job against their top line. I thought, top to bottom, we were outstanding."
Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist, and Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves for the Avalanche (21-18-8), who lost for the 10th time in 12 games (2-8-2).
"We can't be coaching effort; it's almost February," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "The effort's not there at the start of the game for whatever reason. There's nothing else to it, you can't look past that. That's a prerequisite to everything else."
Brady Tkachuk gave the Senators a 1-0 lead 2:06 into the second period when he scored from the edge of the crease. Mark Stone made it 2-0 at 3:13 when he redirected a Cody Ceci point shot and the puck barely rolled over the goal line.
Video: COL@OTT: Tkachuk cleans up in front to open scoring
"For about five of the 20 minutes in the first period, I felt we were good," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "The rest, I felt we were on our heels. … It's gotten so repetitive. It's frustrating that we have to wait for the other team to score two goals before we start playing."
Dzingel tapped in a cross-crease pass from Thomas Chabot to make it 3-0 at 9:01 of the first. It was Chabot's first game since the defenseman missed eight with an upper-body injury.
"That's what guys like that do," Ottawa coach Guy Boucher of said Chabot's assist. "Out of nowhere, they come up with something outstanding. That's a game-breaker. That's what he is."
Video: COL@OTT: Dzingel finishes off Sens' great passing
Nikita Zadorov's one-timer from the point got Colorado within 3-1 at 18:53.
Duchene scored off a Zack Smith point shot that rebounded off the glass to the front of the net, extending Ottawa's lead to 4-1 at 7:49 of the third period.
Matt Calvert looked to have scored for the Avalanche at 10:04, but video review showed the net was off its moorings at the time of the goal.
MacKinnon scored with a wrist shot on the power play to make it 4-2 at 16:01.
Video: COL@OTT: MacKinnon snipes shot by Nilsson for PPG
Duchene scored into an empty net to make it 5-2 at 18:58; it was his 20th goal.
"Tonight, the breakdowns were effort-based," Bednar said. "Poor execution, that's what it's based on tonight. Honestly, we addressed it after the first period, it could've been [3-0] or 4-0 after the first period. ... We started to play when it was 3-0 for them and it was too late."
They said it
"If we're competing the way we need to compete, then sometimes you get the result, sometimes you don't. I feel like we've been getting a bit of bad luck here lately. You're hoping that a game like [a 6-3 win at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday] turns it around, but like I said, the effort part has got to be there first." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar
"My main focus coming in today was to just try and mold back into the lineup the best I could and fit in with what the guys were doing on the road. They were playing so well, and [Chabot] and I talked about just coming in and trying to not disrupt it." -- Senators forward Matt Duchene
Need to know
Duchene scored twice in the first game this season against the Avalanche, his former team, on Oct. 26 at Colorado, a 6-3 loss. ... Mikko Rantanen had two assists to become the second Avalanche player get 70 points in 50 or fewer games (he has 71); Joe Sakic did it in 49 games in 2000-01. Rantanen is the second Avalanche player to get 50 assists in 50 or fewer games; Peter Forsberg did so in 47 games in 1995-96.
Avalanche: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; ALT, FS-W, NHL.TV)
Senators: At the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-CR, RDS2, TSN5, NHL.TV)
Video: Duchene, Dzingel propel Sens past Avs in 5-2 victory