Start of the Blackhawks Dynasty, Part 7: Winter Classic at Wrigley


In a 10-part series, we look back at the 10-year anniversary of the 2008-09 season, the start of the Blackhawks dynasty.

Blackhawks. Red Wings. No two teams in NHL history have played each other more in the regular season than these two.

It's one of hockey's most historic rivalries, but one that was one-sided during the 1990s and 2000s when the Red Wings won four of their 11 Stanley Cups in franchise history and recorded a playoff streak of 25 straight seasons.

But with the Blackhawks starting to turn the corner in 2008-09, Chicago was ready for primetime.

On Jan. 1, 2009, the Blackhawks and Red Wings squared off in the second annual Winter Classic at Wrigley Field, where 40,818 fans packed the Friendly Confines despite freezing temperatures. It was a chance for the NHL to see rising stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on a grand stage with current Red Wings superstars Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Hossa, Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg.

While the end result didn't go Chicago's way — a 6-4 loss — the spectacle showed just how far the Blackhawks had come in such a short amount of time from the dark days of finishing among the bottom of the league, getting that national TV spotlight against their arch rival on New Year's Day.

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