Notes and observations from the preseason opener in Boston:
-- Rick DiPietro stopped 20 of 22 shots in his 40 minutes of work and looked a lot like the DiPietro of old. Actually, not quite -- he was more economical in his puck-handling than he ever used to be. It was an eye-opening performance and the sort of game that wouldn't have people questioning the coaching staff if they named him the starting goaltender.
Still early, of course, but a good start for DiPietro.
-- Considering the lineup the Isles fielded, one fairly devoid of big-minute players, there were some positives despite a lot of breakdowns in the final 40 minutes. Dylan Reese scored two first-period goals and, while no one would classify either goal as a classic against Tim Thomas, Reese got his shots through and was aggressive. His defense partner, Ty Wishart, struggled more and lost a lot of battles in his own zone.
Pats on the back too for a plugger line of Jay Pandolfo, Trevor Frischmon and Jeremy Colliton. Colliton left the game after just five shifts with a groin injury, but he knocked Zdeno Chara off the puck in the Bruins zone and fed Reese for the first of his goals. Pandolfo, fighting for a fourth-line spot, was good in all three zones and sprung Tomas Marcinko for a two-on-one that Frischmon finished with a rebound goal in the second.
"You know what you're going to get every shift," Capuano said of Pandolfo, who certainly wouldn't be out of place as a 12th/13th forward.
Frischmon, 30, has been very solid in camp and is a gritty sort of player who could earn a spot call-up down the road.
Steve Staios had a physical game, as he's supposed to. He played 19:16 and came through well; he may play again tonight against the Devils, so we'll see if he can hold up in back-to-backs at age 38.
-- On the flip side, the Blake Comeau-Josh Bailey-PA Parenteau trio didn't generate much. Bailey won six of eight faceoffs in the first period but couldn't do much else the rest of the night, and he let Patrice Bergeron get free in the slot for the Bruins' second goal. After Colliton left, the remaining 11 forwards were pretty jumbled, but Comeau and Bailey were not standouts.
Calvin de Haan moved the puck well and kept some traffic from the slot in the opening period, but he did wear down against the big, veteran Bruin forwards. He also passed up a couple shot opportunities on the power play, but this is part of the learning process.
Anders Nilsson got to work out some jitters too. He was blameless on the first two goals, but gave up a couple of softies to account for the 6-3 final. The Bruins outshot the Isles 36-16, and it felt like it could have been more lopsided than that.
There should be a few holdovers in the lineup tomorrow, and expect the top two lines -- Moulson-Tavares-Niederreiter and Okposo-Nielsen-Grabner -- to play in front of the home crowd at the Coliseum.