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Penguins split Crosby, Kessel at practice

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Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel were on separate lines at Pittsburgh Penguins practice on Friday.

Crosby centered a line with Pascal Dupuis and Patric Hornqvist, and Kessel was at wing with center Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Plotnikov.

"We'll see how everybody responds, and ultimately I think everybody's role doesn't really change based on who they're playing with," Crosby told the Penguins website. "Everyone knows what they need to do, but sometimes it takes a little bit of [change] to get everybody going and hopefully that will be the answer for us."

The Penguins have scored 11 goals in seven games this season, never more than two in regulation in any game, including a 4-1 home loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

Crosby scored his only goal of the season in the sixth game; Kessel has two goals and one assist; and neither Chris Kunitz, who was playing on the top line with Crosby and Kessel, nor Hornqvist has a goal. Malkin has three goals, a Dupuis made his season debut against the Stars, his first NHL game since last November.

"There's a lot of things that can affect goal scoring, and we have to be aware of that and those details are important to scoring, but it's early in the year and we have a lot of guys who are capable of scoring here, so I don't think it's something that we need to press the panic button on," Crosby said. "I think it's something where we've got to make sure that we're looking at the right things to improve and being way better."

The Penguins (3-4-0) play the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; ROOT,FS-TN).

"If you look at the first period last night, we had great chances to take an early lead in the game and we missed them," Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston said. "Are those chances going to fall for us? Yeah, they will. Do we have to tweak some lines? For sure, we have to look at that. We have to look at what combinations may work well together.

"There's a lot of different players in our lineup up front and, right now, we're not locked in to any lines. We're going to switch them tomorrow night and we may even switch them in-game like we did last night."

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