Penguins to Face Capitals in NHL Outdoor Game in Pittsburgh Early in 2011

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals will play on New Year’s Day at Heinz Field, home of the National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman announced.

The game, which will feature a matchup between Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, will be the fifth NHL game to be played outdoors, following ones at Fenway Park in Boston in January, Wrigley Field in Chicago, Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, and at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2003.

Ovechkin is the league’s two-time reigning most valuable player and tied Crosby this season with 109 points, second most in the NHL behind Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin.

This will be the second appearance in an outdoor game for the Penguins, who beat the Buffalo Sabres during a snowstorm in 2008.

There may be a second outdoor game staged next season. The NHL said on its website that the contest, to be known as the Heritage Classic, is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 20 in Calgary between the Flames and Montreal Canadiens. The plan will be discussed with the league’s competition committee next month.

The Boston Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime of this year’s game at Fenway Park, Major League Baseball’s oldest stadium.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Buteau in Atlanta at mbuteau@bloomberg.net or.

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