There are only a couple of NHL games on tap for tonight after teams had to deal with a grueling December schedule.  It’s a good opportunity to regroup and take a look at what’s going on in the league as 2020 gets underway, and to find out what, and who, is shaking.  From expected deals to unexpected contests, the NHL world is always full of excitement, and our NHL news for Jan 3 isn’t any different.

NHL News and Notes Jan 3

The Washington Capitals are going to take on the Carolina Hurricanes in the first game for both teams this year.  Despite having a superior record this season, at 27-9-5, the Caps haven’t always been able to produce against Carolina.  Tonight will be a rematch of the contest between these two teams from this past weekend when the Canes took the victory, 6-4.  It is also a chance for the Caps to redeem themselves from another loss they suffered against the Canes earlier this season.

Washington is in Carolina for tonight’s game and its goalie, Ilya Samsonov, needs to tighten up to ensure his team doesn’t suffer another defeat at the hands of the Hurricanes.  He wasn’t in for the last contest, and probably should have been.  On the season, he has a personal record of 10-2-1 and a save percentage of .918.

The Hurricanes have been able to find a slot against the Caps where other teams fail.  However, the most recent loss the Caps received from the Canes was self-inflicted – errors kept them from taking charge.  The Capitals have only one three-game losing streak this season and are coming into tonight’s contest looking to make up for the previous losses.  The smart money is on the Caps tonight and the Under at 6.5 is worth a look.  Samsonov has allowed just slightly more than two goals per game and his stats and talent are going to prove beneficial tonight.

Red Wings at Stars

The Dallas Stars will host the Detroit Red Wings tonight and there won’t be any surprises.  The Stars have been performing extremely well, currently at 23-14-4, while the Red Wings are having a tough year – 10-28-3 is not a good way to get to the playoffs.  Detroit is last in the league, with only 23 points, and has only won four road games out of the 20 played.  This game is going to be lopsided from the start and the Stars will easily walk away with the victory.  Take the Over at 5.5, given that Dallas is strong and home and will be even stronger against Detroit.

Deals and Trades News

In the latest NHL news for Jan 3 about who’s worked out new deals and potential trades, the Montreal Canadiens have worked out a deal with Ilya Kovalchuk that will see him get back on the ice.  He left the LA Kings last month when the team decided to scratch him, and he became an unrestricted free agent.  Now, he’s headed north for a one-year contract that will see him in both the NHL and the AHL.  In a deal designed by Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin, Kovalchuk will pick up $700,000 at the NHL level and $70,000 for the AHL action.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider could soon be looking for a new home.  Although he’s been comfortable with his current team for the past eight years, the Rangers might be ready to ship him off when he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.  If so, there are more than likely going to be a lot of teams scrambling to sign him, especially since he has a relatively low salary cap.  His cap hit stands at just over $4.6 million – a bargain in today’s NHL.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking for a few good men.  The word on the street is that three players – Jeremy Bracco, Dmytro Timasov and Ben Harpur – all want to be released from the team and haven’t been shy about making their opinions known.  The Leafs are having a decent season on the ice, which makes one wonder what would make them want to jump ship.

Scooter Braun is probably having a major meltdown.  As the talent manager for pop star Justin Bieber, he has to be wondering what would have convinced the singer and performer to agree to a head-to-head shootout with St. Louis Blues star Jordan Binnington.  Binnington put out a challenge to J-Beebs that might see the two on the ice as part of the All-Star festivities on January 25.  It’s well known that Bieber can play hockey, but this could be a little more risky.  If things don’t go well, he could soon be singing a completely different tune.

So, that’s our NHL news roundup for Jan 3, check back in at Sports Intel soon for more.