Three Things: Terrific Tarasov, Struggling Sillinger, And A Long Trip Back Home After A Winless Road Trip

By Ed Francis on December 4, 2021 at 9:43 pm
Cole Sillinger is one of many Columbus Blue Jackets who are in a slump.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight game, Daniil Tarasov played good enough to pick up his first NHL victory.

For the second straight game, the effort around him just wasn't enough.

The 22-year-old allowed just two goals on 31 shots, but Columbus could muster up just one against Ilya Samsonov and the Washington Capitals defeated the Blue Jackets by a 3-1 score Saturday night.

Here are three things from the final game of a winless road trip:


He was the losing goaltender again, but Daniil Tarasov has looked the part of an NHL goalie in both of his starts. His .935 save percentage on the road to the Capitals is impressive, even with the "L" attached to his name.

There are some issues, certainly. One of the two goals allowed came on a rebound, and for the game, Washington had five shots off rebounds. Per MoneyPuck, that number should have been two. But Tarasov is showing he can play, and his maturity is something worth noting, as well: 


Cole Sillinger had just two shots on goal in the four-game span, and looked over-matched at times against the Capitals in the road-trip finale. In his last eight games, the 18-year-old rookie has no goals, one assist, and checks in with a plus/minus of -8. He saw just five faceoffs in Saturday's loss, on the heels of winning just two of 21 in the previous two games. 

With rare exceptions, teenagers who do make it to the NHL go through slumps. How Sillinger responds to his first prolonged struggle at the highest level is worth watching. 


Columbus ended the four-game road trip with as many points as they did before they left. They were outscored 18-6, but the Blue Jackets seemed to be playing at least marginally better in the latter half. The offense wasn't any better (three goals in the first two games, three in the last two), but the defense and goaltending gave up goals at half the rate (12 in the first two games, then six) during the second part of the road trip. 

The good news: At 12-10-0, the Blue Jackets are still a winning hockey team this season, and despite losing four straight, are still exceeding most pundits expectations. If Columbus is frustrated — and they should be — they have a quick turnaround and can put the losing streak to bed Sunday at Nationwide Arena when the San Jose Sharks come to town. Don't forget, too, that Patrik Laine is due back soon from an injury, as is Dean Kukan. They won't return to the lineup for the Sunday matinee, but expect to see both back in the lineup in the coming weeks.