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Crosby looks to continue torrid pace at Consol

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 2:27 p.m.

Consol Energy Center isn't really new anymore, as the Penguins will begin their third season there tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Seeing a healthy Sidney Crosby skate in the building is still pretty fresh, however.

Crosby has only played in 32 career games at the Penguins' home, and for him, tonight's opener will be special.

“Every game is big,” he said. “But we want to make sure we get off to a good start at home. That's important.”

He has made the most of those 32 appearances at Consol Energy Center.

Crosby has produced 23 goals and 56 points in those 32 games, good for a point per game average of 1.75. To put that number in perspective, only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux finished their careers with a point per game average of higher than the 1.75 that Crosby produces at Consol Energy Center.

Crosby averaged 1.52 points per game at Mellon Arena and produces 1.24 points per game on the road in his career. His lifetime point per game average of 1.39 is fourth all time, behind only Gretzky, Lemieux and Mike Bossy.

What is it about Consol Energy Center that brings out the best in Crosby?

“I actually think the fans have a lot to do with it,” said right wing Pascal Dupuis, who has skated with Crosby during most of his appearances at the Penguins' third-year home.

“I don't know, there's just something about this place. The atmosphere is special. The crowd gets going, it's a beautiful place. We all love playing here.”

Crosby has been exceptionally consistent at the team's third-year home. He has earned at least one point in 27 of the 32 games he has played at Consol Energy Center.

In those 32 games, Crosby has produced three four-point games, five three-point games and eight two-point games.

The Maple Leafs do not boast a particularly strong history of shutting down Crosby in any venue. He has schooled the Maple Leafs for 17 goals and 35 points in only 22 games.

They are well aware of the presence he brings.

“I know people aren't paying to watch me play hockey,” Toronto defenseman Mike Komisarek said. “But I do know that they're paying to watch Sidney Crosby play tonight, just like they always do. We know he's going to be flying out there tonight. Tough test for us.”

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