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NHL outdoor series off to a good start

The Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings in the Winter Classic on Wednesday.

Noah Graham-Pool/Getty Images

The Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings in the Winter Classic on Wednesday.

The NHL’s ambitious plan to hold six outdoor games this season got off to a good start Wednesday with a record crowd enduring freezing temperatures at Michigan Stadium. The league has played outdoor games in mixed weather conditions since it started the annual tradition six years ago.

The challenges will be even greater this year with a game in Los Angeles (Ducks-Kings, Jan. 25), two games in four days at Yankee Stadium in late January (Devils-Rangers, Islanders-Rangers), and two contests in early March (Penguins-Blackhawks in Chicago and Senators-Canucks in Vancouver).

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A look at the weather from the NHL’s last six games at outdoor venues:

2003 Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton; Canadiens 4, Oilers 3; -20 degrees, clear

2008 Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y.; Penguins 2, Sabres 1 (SO); 30 degrees, snow

2009 Wrigley Field, Chicago; Red Wings 6, Blackhawks 4; 32 degrees, clear

2010 Fenway Park, Boston; Bruins 2, Flyers 1 (OT); 38 degrees, cloudy

2011 Heinz Field, Pittsburgh; Capitals 3, Penguins 1; 52 degrees, rain

2011 McMahon Stadium, Calgary; Flames 4, Canadiens 0; 16 degrees, clear

2012 Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia; Rangers 3, Flyers 2; 41 degrees, overcast

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