Senators to host Canadiens in outdoor anniversary game

The Canadiens (white) and the Senators (red) are both in playoff positions in this season's NHL standings

The Ottawa Senators will host the Montreal Canadiens next December in the NHL 100 Classic as two original teams meet outdoors on the 100th anniversary of the NHL's first game, the league announced Friday.

The game will be played at Ottawa's Lansdowne Park, the 25,000-seat home stadium of the Canadian Football League's reigning Grey Cup champions, the Ottawa RedBlacks.

The outdoor contest will pay tribute to the league's history as part of the NHL's Centennial celebration and the 125th year for its championship trophy, the Stanley Cup.

Through March 16, the league has staged 54,004 regular-season games, with the opening night in NHL history including the original Ottawa Senators facing the Canadiens at Dey's Arena in Ottawa, with Joe Malone scoring five goals in Montreal's 7-4 triumph.

"By bringing the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens together, outdoors at Lansdowne Park, we recreate -- and reimagine -- a match-up of founding NHL franchises who launched 100 years of remarkable history for our league and our fans," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said.

The Canadiens are the world's longest continuously operating professional ice hockey club, founded in 1909, while the current Senators were an NHL expansion club founded in 1992 that adopted the name of the original NHL team, which played in the leagie from 1917 to 1934.

The matchup marks the first NHL outdoor game in Ottawa.

"One hundred years ago our Senators played their first NHL game to help give rise to the greatest professional hockey league in the world," Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said.

"Hockey has deep and revered roots here in the nation's capital. Our team and our fans are exceptionally honored to play host to an NHL outdoor game this December that will cap off the league's year-long centennial celebrations."

It will be the fourth outdoor game for the Canadiens, who are 2-1 outdoors, most recently beating Boston 5-1 last year at the home of the NFL reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

The rivals are both in playoff positions in this season's NHL standings, the Canadiens atop the Atlantic Division on 86 points, one ahead of the Senators.