By Jack Lowenstein

(CBS4) – The Colorado Avalanche continue to trend in an upward direction overall. The Avs have climbed their way into playoff contention this holiday season — 2nd place in the Central Division. Nathan MacKinnon is back centering the top line, and the team’s youngest goaltender notched his first NHL win to keep the Avs steady in the quest for the postseason.

Justus Annunen #60 of the Colorado Avalanche takes a break during the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on December 06, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Justus Annunen on Monday night (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Finnish rookie goalie Justus Annunen, 21, recorded his first NHL win during a high-scoring matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers Monday night. It was also his first complete start in the league.

Devon Toews #7 and Justus Annunen #60 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 7-5 at the Wells Fargo Center on December 6, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Devon Toews and Justus Annunen of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 7-5 at the Wells Fargo Center. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

The first period saw the Avs put up 4 goals to keep them ahead of the Flyers, who also managed to send 3 pucks by the young Avs netminder. Regardless of the scoring-gallery showdown, Annunen maintained the composure needed to outlast the Flyers and help the Avs to a 7-5 win on the road.

Annunen was the 64th overall draft pick for the Avalanche in the 3rd round of the 2018 NHL Draft. Originally from Kempele, Finland, Annunen is getting his chance to mind the net for the Avs as veteran goalies Pavel Francouz and Darcy Kuemper have been out of the active roster. Francouz is on a conditioning assignment in the AHL after being out since last season, and Kuemper returned to practice Monday after being injured during team practice last week.

Justus Annunen #60 of the Colorado Avalanche makes the second period save as Sean Couturier #14 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks for the rebound at the Wells Fargo Center on December 6, 2021.

Justus Annunen #60 of the Colorado Avalanche makes the second period save. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

During Annunen’s winning performance, he also grabbed his first NHL point with a primary assist that saw defenseman Cale Makar go coast-to-coast for a goal during the 1st period.

Next up, the Avs head for a cross-conference matchup in Manhattan against the New York Rangers at 5 p.m. Wednesday. This will complete Colorado’s 5-game road trip.

Jack Lowenstein