-- Isles finish the preseason 1-4-0, but 1-1-0 with most of their regulars -- tonight was only the second game they featured their top five forwards.
And those five -- the Matt Moulson-John Tavares combo (tonight with PA Parenteau on the right side) and the Kyle Okposo-Frans Nielsen-Michael Grabner trio -- were flying again. The ice was in bad shape at Webster Bank Arena, with pucks bouncing everywhere, but Grabner still found room with his speed and generated half a dozen scoring chances.
Okposo was strong on the puck too and he had about three rifle shots that missed the net from good angles.
Tavares had a 5-on-3 PPG and was around the puck and the net most of the game. He took a high stick from Bruins pest Brad Marchand in the second but shook it off quickly -- and got some backup from Parenteau, who jumped Marchand in retaliation. Parenteau got jumped himself after he semi-slew footed Joe Corvo in the third; Milan Lucic sent Parenteau flying.
-- Blake Comeau was still on the perimeter a bit too much for Jack Capuano's liking, I'll bet, but Comeau had a couple great shifts with the puck in the offensive zone, one of which led to Marty Reasoner's backhand goal after a hard bounce off the end boards in the second. Comeau and Josh Bailey are still finding their roles, and both need to drive the net and fire off some shots to get noticed.
-- Casey Cizikas made his preseason debut and he was as advertised: Tough, never shying away from contact, and a smart player. One small thing for a guy who will get noticed for the small things: He hopped over the boards on a change early in the second and Comeau was still a ways from the bench as the changing player. The puck ricocheted towards Cizikas; if he played it, he risked a too many men penalty. He let the puck hit off the boards next to him, Comeau got off and Cizikas played it before a Bruin could get to it first.
That's the sort of play that will get Cizikas back to the NHL this season.
-- There were some breakdowns in the second period, especially among the defense. Mark Eaton lost his edge a couple times and made an unsafe play in center ice that led to a 2-on-1 and David Krejci's goal. Eaton has had a few iffy moments in his preseason games.
Mark Streit looked sharp, but he left the front of the net to track down Benoi Pouliot after the big Bruins winger bulled his way past Mike Mottau. No one had Tyler Seguin in front and the game ended up tied.
Seeing the very large Bruins throwing their weight around, it's going to be tough on the Isles' skilled but small forwards this season against bigger teams. If, say, the Isles third and fourth lines most nights are Comeau-Bailey-Niederreiter and Rolston-Reasoner-Pandolfo/Martin, the only real banger among those seven is Matt Martin. That's going to mean some wear and tear on the skilled guys. Something to watch for.
-- Al Montoya made 14 saves in his 28:40 and looked very good. Evgeni Nabokov had the misfortune of coming in just as the tide was turning, and he was pretty blameless on all three Bruins goals, still making 17 saves.
I'd still rank the goaltending depth chart right now as 1. DiPietro, 2. Nabokov and 3. Montoya.
-- Isles are off tomorrow, but there could be roster moves announced. Bridgeport will have its team assembled next week up here, so the Isles should be down to 25-26 players by the time they get back on the ice on Monday.