Kent Johnson-Cole Sillinger-Alex Nylander Line Performing Well For Blue Jackets Through First Two Games

By Coby Maeir on February 29, 2024 at 10:15 am
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke (2) and forward Cole Sillinger (4) congratulate forward Kent Johnson (91) on his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at Scotiabank Arena.
© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past two games, both against the New York Rangers, one of the league's best teams, the Blue Jackets third line has consisted of Kent Johnson, Cole Sillinger, and Alex Nylander, who was acquired via trade on Feb. 22. 

The trio has averaged 10:23 in those games while dominating in chances and expected goals. Unfortunately, they haven't been on the ice for a five-on-five goal yet, but they also haven't been on the ice for a goal against, either. 

Kent Johnson-Cole Sillinger-Alex Nylander at 5v5 this season (Via
TOI Shot Attempts For/Against Shots on Goal For/Against Scoring Chances For/Against High-Danger Chances For/Against Goals For/Against Expected Goals For/Against
20:55 24/19 11/7 11/6 5/1 0/0 1.32/0.48

After posting an average game score of -0.64 in his previous five games before the home-and-home against the Rangers, Johnson has rebounded with an average game score of 0.53 since being on this line, per Over these past two games, Sillinger has a 1.09 average game score and Nylander's average game score is 0.64. 

Not only has this line played well, but it has done so against arguably the best team in the NHL, so for them to be noticeable in that game is a testament to not only how productive they are right now but how effective they can be in the future. 

For the Blue Jackets, it's nice to see that Nylander has adjusted quickly and has played well so far, but it's far more important for them that Johnson and Sillinger are playing better since they are two core pieces of this team's rebuild. 

This season stopped being about wins around the beginning of November. The Blue Jackets' top priority should be the development of their young players like Johnson and Sillinger. 

Among Columbus' forward lines, this trio played the second-most minutes on both Wednesday and Sunday, so it appears that line has earned the trust of Pascal Vincent so far. 

With a tough test on Thursday against Carolina, how will the team's third line play? Can they keep up this success for the remaining 24 games of the season?

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