HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) – Sidney Crosby’s return home didn’t go as well as planned.

In a building where he was often jeered as a junior, the 19-year-old phenom was cheered Tuesday night and treated like a forgiven hero.

Crosby, who grew up mere miles from the Halifax Metro Centre, had a goal and assist in his first pro game in his hometown, but the Pittsburgh Penguins lost their preseason opener 5-2 to the Ottawa Senators.

The young forward scored by deflecting a shot from the point and then set up a goal by Stephen Dixon, a former rival from their days together as Halifax-area minor hockey stars.

Dany Heatley led Ottawa with two goals. Cody Bass, Patrick Eaves and Denis Hame also scored for the Senators (1-0).

Crosby was often the target of boos during his two years in the Quebec junior league when he tormented the Halifax Mooseheads while playing with the Rimouski Oceanic.

But this time was different.

From the moment he burst onto the ice to a chorus of cheers for warmups, the speedy center from nearby Cole Harbour was the center of attention for the capacity crowd of 10,000.

Crosby, who had 103 points in his rookie season, failed to generate much during a listless first period.

But in the second, he stepped it up, creating numerous chances. He assisted on Dixon’s goal at 5:55.

Evgeni Malkin, another phenom who recently signed with the Penguins after leaving Russia, didn’t play.

Ray Emery started in goal for Ottawa and stopped all 20 shots he faced before being replaced in the second period.

Marc-Andre Fleury went the distance and made 28 saves for Pittsburgh.



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