Penguins to host Capitals in 2011 Winter Classic

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin will take their burgeoning rivalry outside as the Pittsburgh Penguins will host the Washington Capitals in the 2011 edition of the Winter Classic, the NHL said on Friday.

The teams will face off at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field -- home venue for the National Football League's Pittsburgh Steelers -- on New Year's Day.

This will be the fourth Winter Classic, the first having been played between the Buffalo Sabres and Crosby's Penguins in 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.

That Winter Classic drew 71,217 fans and unprecedented media coverage for a regular-season NHL game. It also marked the first outdoor NHL game ever played in the United States.

The weather is part of the charm that has helped transform the Winter Classic from a novelty event into the NHL's signature game.

The NHL also hopes to stage a regular-season game outdoors in Canada on February 20 if it can get approval in June from the league's competition committee. If approved, the Heritage Classic would be between the Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)