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Penguins teammates Sidney Crosby, right, and Evgeni Malkin are expected to play before a crowd of more than 70,000 at the NHL Winter Classic. ((Gene Puskar/Associated Press))

More than 42,000 tickets were snapped up in less than 30 minutes Tuesday morning for the first-ever National Hockey League regular-season outdoor game in the United States.

The hometown Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins will face off at 1 p.m. ET on Jan. 1 in the NHL Winter Classic at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.

The game, which will be broadcast in high definition on Hockey Night in Canada and streamed online at CBCSports.ca, is expected to draw a crowd of just under 74,000.

More than 30,000 tickets are on hold for Sabres season-ticket holders, Bills club seat members and the NHL, according to Sabres spokesman Michael Gilbert.

He added while those ticket holders could opt out, it would be some time before those seats would become available.

With no limit on the number of tickets individuals could purchase online and at the stadium, some Penguins fans were left in the dark by scalpers. Gilbert said he was unaware of this.

CBC Sports presented the Heritage Classic four years ago in Edmonton, the first NHL regular-season outdoor game.

The Oilers and Montreal Canadiens played at Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 22, 2003, in front of more than 52,000 fans, who braved below freezing temperatures.

The game drew a television audience of 2.747 million, which ranks as the second-highest average audience for a regular-season contest all-time for HNIC.

In 2001, the University of Michigan played outdoors at archrival Michigan State in a contest titled the Cold Wars before 74,554 fans.

Hockey Night in Canada begins its 2007-08 schedule on Sept. 29 when the Los Angeles Kings and defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks tangle at the new O2 Arena in London, England, at12 p.m. ET.