The Avalanche needed a shootout to do it, but Colorado knocked off New Jersey 2-1 Thursday night to claim its third consecutive victory at the Pepsi Center.

Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly — who had the Avalanche's only goal in regulation — beat New Jersey goalie Cory Schneider in the shootout, while Semyon Varlamov made a save on New Jersey's Patrik Elias and Adam Henrique's shot was wide. Schneider made a save on Nathan MacKinnon, so the Avs had a 2-0 edge in the shootout.

Varlamov had 33 saves in regulation and overtime, including 17 in the third period as the Devils dominated and got the game-tying goal from Reid Boucher at 8:59 of the period.

"He was outstanding, there was no doubt," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said of Varlamov. "The first two periods, we played really well in front of him. ... For some reason, in the third it opened up, but Varly was there on every great scoring chance they had. He was without a doubt the reason we had a chance in overtime."

Colorado also now is 7-1-1 in its last nine. Also, in improving to 30-12-5 for the season, the Avalanche reached the 30-win mark in 47 games, equaling the franchise-best win pace at this stage of the season by the 2000-01 team that went on to win the Stanley Cup.

That will be meaningless once the regular season ends, and the addition of the shootout in 2005-06 muddies up the comparisons. Still, it's still a bit stunning that this team, coming off a 29th-place overall finish the previous season, is ahead of the win paces set by other Avalanche teams that were regulars in the Western Conference finals and won the Stanley Cup in 1996.