It was a 'Hockey Night in Pittsburgh' on Saturday, but the setting was not what most fans are accustomed to.
The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-2, at Heinz Field as a part of the NHL's Stadium Series.
"Heinz Field is just such a great venue," said Penguins Coach Mike Sullivan. "It was awesome to be a part of it."
The 50-yard line was replaced by center ice, as Heinz Field played the perfect host for hockey for the second time, previously hosting the Winter Classic in 2011.
"I gotta tell ya, I don't know if I've had more fun playing hockey," said Matt Cullen. "It was such a fun night. I was just kind of blown away by the atmosphere and it was pretty cool seeing how many people stuck around with the cold temperatures. Just the whole thing was one of those bucket list deals and I'm just really, really happy I got to be a part of it."
Playing at the home of the Steelers was something the players enjoyed, especially when they are accustomed to playing in front of 18,787 for home games, and instead played in front of a sellout crowd of 67,318 at Heinz Field.
"Every time you step foot in this building you understand the history it has with it," said Penguins forward Chris Kunitz. "And then the excitement that comes when you can walk out of that tunnel. The first time we did it, coming out of the tunnel and looking up and seeing all of the people. Once you are involved in the game you don't feel everybody on top of you. Once you take a step back, you get to the bench and look up and you can see all the fans and see how much fun it actually is for the environment."
Goalie Matt Murray agreed that playing at Heinz Field was special.
"Heinz Field is a pretty epic building," said Murray.
A lot of work went into getting Heinz Field prepared for the game, but it was well worth it for the excitement the Stadium Series brought to the City of Pittsburgh.
"To have been chosen again to host a major event like this, not just for Heinz Field, but for the City of Pittsburgh, was an honor," said Jim Sacco, Vice President of Stadium Operations and Management. "It's great for the city, for our organization and for the Penguins. It was a little different than the Winter Classic, but it was still an exciting weekend with the fan zone, the game, and everything. It's wonderful. It's another wonderful event that has come to the City of Pittsburgh that benefits all of us.
"To host this here twice is great. It's still a football stadium. We do multiple events, soccer games, concerts. It's still the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Pittsburgh Panthers. But this is cool. The setup for the game was remarkable. The configuration and design of the rink was second to none."