DENVER -- Jacob Markstrom made 34 saves for the Vancouver Canucks in a 5-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Saturday.
"Our guys really responded," Markstrom said. "This was a big game we needed to win."
Jake Virtanen and Antoine Roussel each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks (24-22-6), who are 3-1-0 in their past four games and moved ahead of the Avalanche for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
[WATCH: All Canucks vs. Avalanche highlights]
"You want to be in the mix and we're right in it right now," Markstrom said. "They're seven, eight teams for two spots, three spots. It's tight. You need to win games, especially against a team that's in that race as well. Points are important."
Matt Calvert scored and Semyon Varlamov made 21 saves for the Avalanche (22-21-8), who have lost three straight games and 13 of their past 16 (3-11-2).
"We've got to find a way to get it going, because it's going to be too late, too soon," Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson said. "We certainly believe that we have the right tools in here."
Virtanen gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 1:32 of the first period when he skated down left wing and redirected a cross-ice pass from Roussel on a 2-on-1.
Video: VAN@COL: Virtanen gives Canucks early lead
"I just saw [Gabriel Landeskog] was maybe a little bit beside me or a little bit behind me and I saw I had a little bit of space to skate," Virtanen said. "[Roussel] was just 1-on-1 with the guy and he pulled it wide and I just drove to the back post and had my stick on the ice. It was a great pass by him."
Brock Boeser extended the lead to 2-0 at 6:04, scoring short side off the crossbar from the high slot after Elias Pettersson won a face-off in the left circle.
"Any time you get a one-goal lead and you can extend it, or they score and we get one back right away, it's huge," Boeser said. "It gave us momentum there to keep pushing and keep playing good hockey."
Video: VAN@COL: Boeser goes top shelf off the draw
Roussel made it 3-0 at 7:30 of the second period on a one-timer blocker side in front after receiving a pass from Bo Horvat from behind the net.
"It was fun," Roussel said. "Go to the net, get rewarded. Bo makes a nice play all the time. It's nice to put it in the back of the net. He's a good player and makes things out of nothing."
Calvert cut it to 3-1 at 11:18 on a redirection off Nikita Zadorov's shot from the blue line.
"We can't keep playing from behind," Johnson said. "It's too tough to play catch-up hockey in the NHL and expect to win on a consistent basis. That's too tough. You can't dig yourself a (hole) and expect to win hardly ever."
Tyler Motte answered to make it 4-1 at 15:17, skating in front of Nathan MacKinnon in the slot to redirect Troy Stecher's pass from the right circle.
Nikolay Goldobin scored from the left circle off a cross-ice pass from Josh Leivo on the power play at 13:59 of the third period gave the Canucks a 5-1 lead.
"Really good effort," Canucks coach Travis Green. "Start to finish our guys were ready to play tonight, especially on the road against an offensive team with some offensive guys that can sting you. Getting the lead is definitely nice."
Video: VAN@COL: Goldobin buries Leivo's perfect pass for PPG
The Avalanche broke up its top line to begin the game, pairing MacKinnon with Alexander Kerfoot and Colin Wilson, and Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen with Carl Soderberg.
"We've tried every line combination on the planet in the last two months," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "We're not getting results, so I didn't like them."
They said it
"When you have a four-game trip, you want to get off on the right foot, but I believe you don't look ahead. It was nice we got this win. It's a big game, especially against Colorado with the points the way they are." -- Canucks coach Travis Green
"The two things that we've talked about recently are our defending commitment and how hard we have to work, how hard we have to compete in those battles, where we have to be in all those structural situations. Another one is the puck decisions that can get you into trouble, and we weren't good at either one of them." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar
Need to know
Boeser has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past six games. … Vancouver went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and is 13-for-14 in its past four games. The Canucks were 1-of-2 on power play after going 1-of-21 in their previous eight games. … Colorado has allowed at least four goals in four of its past five games.
Canucks: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TVAS, NBCSP, SNP, NHL.TV)
Avalanche: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, FS-O, NHL.TV)
Video: Canucks cruise past Avalanche, 5-1