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Crosby has fond Bell Center memory

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Sidney Crosby doesn’t regret revealing that the Montreal Canadiens were his favorite club in childhood.

“There’d be a different topic if it wasn’t that,” he said this afternoon.

Nor does the Penguins captain expect a warm reception here tonight for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal.

What Crosby does have warm memories of is his rookie debut at Bell Center, both first coming out on the ice and scoring two goals – including the winner – in a 6-4 victory over the Habs as a rookie in January 2006.

“I remember it was a two-on-one on (Jose) Theodore,” Crosby said of the first-period goal, assisted by Tomas Surovy. “It was pretty special. I was just happy to be here. Obviously, I wanted to score but just playing here was a dream-come-true. To get my first goal here was a lot of fun.”

The “Crosby Sucks!” chants have been going on randomly for about a half hour now at Bell Center, uniting Canadiens fans throughout Bell Center. It’s an atmosphere that no longer has the allure it once did for Crosby, who hasn’t scored a goal here since his debut.

Crosby has two goals and seven points in eight career games at Bell Center.

“You’re on the road,” Crosby said. “Just being happy to be here, that feeling changes pretty quickly. You’re in an environment that’s pretty hostile, as far as being a road team. It’s loud and it’s a challenge so you have to focus according to that.”

Bell Center promises to be the loudest building the Penguins have played in during the Stanley Cup playoffs, but Crosby said the key is to focus on the game and not the excitement created by Habs fans.

“You just have to be able to shut all that out and realize the difference between momentum with the way you play and the momentum from the crowd,” Crosby said this afternoon. “The hits always seem bigger and a shot from the point seems like it’s a breakaway. As long as you’re aware of that and you’re able to separate that, you’re fine. You get to your game and play with confidence. But that’s one thing you’ve got to be aware of.”

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