The Pittsburgh Penguins will host the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field on New Years day, while the Montreal Canadiens will travel to Calgary sometime in February to face the Flames at McMahon Stadium.
The Penguins and Capitals have two of the most marketable stars in the NHL with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Washington's Alex Ovechkin, so it seemed only a matter of time before the league would take advantage by pitting them head-to-head in the now annual Winter Classic.
Previous editions of the Classic have proven to produce record crowds (71,217 fans were in attendance for the Penguins last outdoor game) and television ratings - 2009's matchup of Detroit and Chicago garnered the largest ratings in 33 years.
The Penguins are undefeated in the Winter Classic, having beat the Buffalo Sabres outside on New Year's Day, 2008. That game, largely remembered for the copious amounts of snow on the rink, went to overtime before Crosby finished the game in a shootout. That, more than likely, is how the Penguins would prefer the game end this time around as well.
The Capitals swept the Penguins this past regular season, winning all four games of the series. The two teams were set to meet again in the second round of the playoffs, but the Caps were outed in the first round by the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens.