Hockey returns to its outdoor roots Thursday with the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic 2009. The Detroit Red Wings
and Chicago Blackhawks
will have to work hard to match the drama of last year's Pittsburgh-Buffalo game, with the Penguins winning on a shootout goal in the snow by Sidney Crosby
Here's a look at this year's Winter Classic ... by the numbers.
Players who were involved in the NHL's first two regular-season outdoor games and will play in this year's Winter Classic. Detroit goaltender Ty Conklin
, the likely starter for the Red Wings, played for Edmonton when the Oilers hosted Montreal in the Heritage Classic on Nov. 22, 2003, and for Buffalo against Pittsburgh last Jan. 1.
Shootout victories by each team over the other since the breakaway competition was adopted in 2005. Both of Detroit's shootout wins have come this season.
Meetings between the Wings and Blackhawks this season, all won by Detroit. The Red Wings won 6-5 and 5-4 in shootouts before Tuesday night's 4-0 victory in the opener of the home-and-home series.
Cities other than Detroit and Chicago that have hosted Wings-Hawks regular-season games. Detroit used Windsor, Ontario, as its home in the 1926-27 season, with three games played there. Chicago was the home team for two games at Indianapolis (1951-52 and 1952-53), one at Omaha, Neb., (1953-54), and three at St. Louis (two in 1954-55, one in 1955-56).
One of the two numbers that have been retired by both the Wings and Hawks. Detroit retired No. 9 in honor of Gordie Howe
, while Chicago did the same to honor Bobby Hull
. The other was No. 1 (Detroit for Terry Sawchuk
; Chicago for Glenn Hall
Consecutive games with a point by the Blackhawks before Detroit's 4-0 win on Tuesday. Chicago had won a franchise-record nine in a row and was 10-0-1 since its last regulation loss, 5-2 at Los Angeles on Nov. 29.
One-goal games played by the Red Wings this season, including their first two games against the Blackhawks, The Wings are 14-3-5 in one-goal games. Chicago has played 15 one-goal games and lost 10 of them.
Points earned by the Red Wings in their first 18 road games, the second-highest total in the League (Boston is first with 33). The Wings' total includes two from their first visit to Chicago, a 6-5 shootout win on Oct. 25.
Games needed by the Hawks to reach 20 wins this season. It was the fewest games needed for 20 wins by the Hawks since they won 20 of their first 31 games in 1990-91.
Seasons since Chicago won its last Stanley Cup. The Hawks, led by Bobby Hull
and Stan Mikita
, beat Detroit in the Final in 1961.
Games played against Chicago by Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom
, the most by any active player on either team against the other. Lidstrom has 80 points (26 goals, 54 assists) in those games. Lidstrom didn't play Tuesday night against Chicago due to an ankle injury; GM Ken Holland said Tuesday he hopes the Wings' captain can play on Thursday.
Games between the Red Wings and Blackhawks since the two teams entered the NHL in 1926. The teams met for the 700th time on Tuesday night in Detroit, where the Wings won 4-0. Detroit has won 355 times, Chicago has won 261 and 84 have ended in ties.
Fans who attended Chicago's 5-1 victory over Philadelphia last Friday, the largest crowd in Chicago hockey history. That mark will be wiped out by the 40,000-plus who are expected to attend the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field. Including the Classic, the Hawks have sold out all 17 home games this season.