Drive to the Net: Jared’s juggling act


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Jared McCann juggles the puck vs. the Panthers. -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

You don't see this too often.

Jared McCann had an unreal move in Sunday's 4-1 loss to the Panthers at PPG Paints Arena, although it fell short of a goal.

With just under 14 minutes remaining in the final frame, McCann recovered a loose puck at the blue line. While skating through the slot through two defenders, he juggled the puck on his stick five times, bounced the puck off of his glove, then baseball swung it at the net. Panthers goaltender Chris Dreidger made the save:

Something like that deserves two replays:

"I'm not the best stickhandler," McCann said with a chuckle. "Something I've always worked on is hand-eye. I just tried to keep it in the air and keep it away from their D."

I dug into it, and McCann's done this before ... sort of. We always see him juggling the puck like that in warmups or practice. But he actually did this same juggle through the slot move followed by a baseball swing in the Canucks' team skills competition in January 2016:

Juggling aside, McCann and his line with Patric Hornqvist and Dominik Simon were the biggest bright spot in this loss. McCann scored the lone goal of the game on a two-on-one with Simon:

"We play the same game," McCann said of playing with Simon. "I feel like we had some good opportunities tonight, but we have to be better defensively."

Mike Sullivan liked what he saw from McCann's play and the entire line as well.

"Jared can really score goals," Sullivan said. "He can shoot the puck, the goal he scored tonight was an example. He almost scored a second one. I thought his line was really good tonight. I thought his line was our best line. Dom Simon had a strong game, and Horny had a strong game. Jared is a good player. He has great offensive instincts, he has the ability to score goals, he has a really good release. He's got velocity behind his shot. Even when he doesn't end up scoring himself, I thought he's played really well over the last three or four weeks. He's creating. I think that's the most important thing."

Sullivan also thinks that as McCann continues to grow one area of his game, it'll help increase that offense.

"One of the areas of his game that the coaching staff has really spent some time with him on is just being stiffer on pucks, harder on pucks," Sullivan continued. "We think it'll give him an opportunity to act on his instincts, because he'll have it more and spend more time in the offensive zone. I think he's getting better in those areas of the game as well, he's a really good offensive player."


[caption id="attachment_948146" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Penguins vs. Panthers, PPG Paints Arena, Jan. 5, 2020 -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS[/caption]

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