Every Sunday, LNH.com draws up a list of French-speaking players who have shone in the NHL over the past week. Here are those who managed to do well from April 17 to 23.
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Thomas BordeleauSan Jose Sharks – 0-3-3, 4 GMs
Thomas Bordeleau wasted no time in making his debut with the Sharks. Barely recovered from the elimination of his team from the University of Michigan in the semi-finals of the Frozen Four, the Quebecer made the jump to the NHL and he amassed three points in his first four games.
The Houston, Texas-born had his baptism of fire in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, a day after signing a three-year rookie contract with San Jose. He got an assist on his team’s first goal scored by Rudolf Balcers in the first period.
“I felt good,” Bordeleau said after the game. There are definitely some sequences in which I could have made better plays, but I think it’s good to have been able to take away the anxiety of the first game.
“It was a special moment for me and my family. I would have just hoped that we could come away with the victory tonight. »
Asked what elements he could differentiate from his previous experiences in hockey, Bordeleau replied: “Absolutely everything. It’s the National Hockey League. Guys run games faster. When you make a mistake, they’re going to benefit a lot more than in the college ranks. It’s a learning process, I try to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible. »
The 20-year-old arguably still has a lot to learn, but he showed a glimpse of his talent on Tuesday, as he set the table in spectacular fashion for another Balcers goal.
Video: CBJ@SJS: Balcers counts thanks to Bordeleau
“I thought they were really good,” coach Bob Boughner said of Bordeleau, Balcers and Noah Gregor, which are united in the same trio. “’Rudy’ and Gregor, as I said after the last game, are playing their best hockey together, and I think a lot of credit goes to Bordeleau. He is able to slow down the game, distribute pucks quickly in the middle. I really liked that line and I think Bordeleau had another strong game. »
Kris LetangPittsburgh Penguins – 1-3-4, 2 GMs
With a one-goal and two-assist game on Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings, Kris Letang gave himself a good chance to eclipse his career-high in points in a season. A very good chance even.
Letang now has 67 points (nine goals, 58 assists) in 75 games this season, matching his 2015-16 record. With the Penguins still having three games left, it would be surprising if the Montreal native failed to register that much-needed little point – hoping not to ward him off by writing these lines.
Either way, the Penguins defenseman has had a standout season. The potential unrestricted free agent on July 13 ranks sixth in the NHL among defensemen in points and third in assists, tied with Hold Makar of the Colorado Avalanche. Letang also ranks fourth in the entire NHL in average time spent on ice per game (25:46). Not so bad for a player who is celebrating his 35th birthday today!
Video: PIT@DET: Letang steps forward and fires a perfect shot
“He’s a guy who always wants to be part of the action, and he can make plays out of thin air,” argued Brian Dumoulin about Letang, with whom he has been playing on the same pair for many years. “It’s fun to play with him, he always wants the puck, which is great. It’s good to see his stats reflect the way he plays. He is so good. »
Letang will get a chance to establish his new personal best on Sunday, when the Penguins visit their archrivals from Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Flyers (4 p.m. ET; TVAS, TNT, NHL LIVE).
Jonathan HuberdeauFlorida Panthers: 0-6-6, 4 MJ
Claude GirouxFlorida Panthers: 1-4-5, 4 MJ
Frédérick Gaudreau, Minnesota Wild: 0-5-5, 4 GMs
Jonathan ToewsChicago Blackhawks: 0-4-4, 4 GMs
Yanni Water BottleSeattle Kraken: 3-0-3, 4 GMs
Phillip DanaultLos Angeles Kings: 2-0-2, 3 GMs
Pierre-Luc DuboisWinnipeg Jets: 1-1-2, 2 MJ
Anthony DuclairFlorida Panthers: 1-1-2, 4 MJ
Bokondji ImamaArizona Coyotes: 1-0-1, 2 MJ