DENVER -- Philipp Grubauer made 34 saves for the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-0 win against the Ottawa Senators at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.
"I feel good, seeing the puck really well, thanks to the guys," said Grubauer, who has two shutouts this season and 11 in the NHL. "They're making things easy. If you play the way we're playing, it makes things easy for me back there. That's what we need to do."
Grubauer (18-11-4) matched his NHL career high set last season with his 18th win. He's won four straight starts while posting an 0.75 goals-against average and .974 save percentage.
[WATCH: All Senators vs. Avalanche highlights]
Valeri Nichushkin, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog scored for the Avalanche (33-16-6), who have won five straight games and are 8-1-0 in their past nine. Colorado moved within one point of the first-place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division.
"I didn't think we had our best legs," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "We were probably a little bit tired coming home (after a five-game road trip), getting to altitude. It seemed like we were a little bit mentally tired too. Overall, I didn't mind our game. It's a tough game to play after a long road trip. Coming home for that first one on not much rest, I thought our guys did a nice job tonight sticking with it."
Video: OTT@COL: Rantanen beats Hogberg with nifty backhander
Marcus Hogberg made 33 saves for the Senators (18-27-11), who are 0-4-2 in their past six games.
"[Hogberg] battled," Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. "He played like our team played tonight; that was hard, and he played hard. He gave us every chance to win. Unfortunately, [Grubauer] was really good down there. It is what it is. I'm happy with our group."
The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead at 19:19 of the first period on Rantanen's goal. After taking a pass from Nathan MacKinnon, Rantanen spun by Senators defenseman Ron Hainsey outside the Ottawa blue line, skated to the net and put a backhand by Hogberg's glove.
"I just tried to spin off [Hainsey]," Rantanen said. "He bit there, gave me some room. I tried to surprise the goalie with the backhand. I don't know if it was pretty, but this time it went in."
Nichushkin was in the slot when he redirected Andre Burakovsky's pass on a power play to make it 2-0 at 10:26 of the third period after he drew a tripping penalty.
Video: OTT@COL: Nichushkin deflects home PPG
Landeskog scored an empty-net goal with 1:05 remaining for the 3-0 final.
"I think it's come to the realization that to win down the stretch and certainly in the playoffs you have to be good defensively," Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole said. "Teams aren't going to let you skate through the neutral zone with the puck unchallenged. If we're not responsible, if we're not reloading in the forecheck, we're going to get run out of the building come those meaningful games."
At 18:11 of the second period, the officials deemed the play dead before Ottawa forward Nick Paul's shot crossed the goalie line after Landeskog checked Paul and Grubauer into the net, which became dislodged.
"I think we had some looks and just couldn't find that first one to get us going," Senators defenseman Dylan DeMelo said. "A lot to like from our game. We played hard right down to the end and made it hard on a really good team. We banged with them, we played hard with them. There's a lot of positives to take away for sure."
They said it
"They're a really good team and I thought we played really hard. Five-on-5, we're really good. Even our penalty kill was really good tonight. [Hogberg] played amazing. We were moving our feet, doing all the right things and we plan on building on this." -- Senators forward Nick Paul
"We've tightened the screws on what we're giving up and the goalies are playing better. I think it's a combination of both. The penalty kill has done a real nice job of late, so that helps. You mix all that together and you're going to give up fewer goals." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar
Video: Grubauer earns Tuesday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout
Need to know
Colorado forward Nazem Kadri did not play and is out indefinitely after sustaining a lower-body injury Sunday against the Minnesota Wild. … Bednar (136-132-33) moved past Marc Crawford into second place with his 136th win among Avalanche coaches since the team moved to Colorado in 1995-96. Bob Hartley (193-108-10 with 48 ties) is first. … MacKinnon has six points (two goals, four assists) in a five-game point streak.
Senators: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV)
Avalanche: Host the Washington Capitals on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, ESPN+, ALT, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)
Video: Grubauer records shutout as Avalanche defeat Senators