Thomas regaining his mojo with new look

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Thomas regaining his mojo with new look

LOS ANGELES, CA The numbers are indisputable, and the smile on Tim Thomas face is instructive.

The 37-year-old goaltender is feeling it now in a way that he wasnt over the previous couple of months, and has been perhaps the single biggest factor pushing the Bruins back into their winning ways. Thomas stopped 40 of the 42 shots that he faced in his teams 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center, and played a major role in an important road win for the Black and Gold.

I still think theres some growth that we need to have with eight games left to go in the season, said Thomas. Id prefer the Bruins of a few games ago where we score a few goals early and we have that cushion of a couple goals. But the win is the most important part.

Thomas has a .946 save percentage in his last four games while putting together a 1.50 goals against average and a 3-1 record during that span of good fortune, and hes also got some nifty new equipment. Thomas ditched his old pads and stick after the horrendous trip through Pittsburgh and Florida, and showed up for his home game against the Flyers with new goalie pads colored with black and white shading.

Thomas said his old pads were starting to break down and had been so weighed down with sweat from the games in Florida that he wanted to opt for some equipment with some stiffness.

It looks like the rigid new pads are working out. Thomas has been like himself again over the last two weeks, and was at his best when the Bruins needed him in Los Angeles. He made 12 saves in the first period to match Jonathan Quick, and then Thomas kicked out a strong extended leg save on a Slava Voynov bid with a wide open net on the backdoor.

Thomas lucked out that Voynov flung the puck right back into Thomas leg pads with the while open net to shoot for, and there was certainly luck involved when Mike Richards dinged a slot shot off the left post.

The Voynov stop highlighted the Bs penalty kill efforts to shut down a Los Angeles man advantage with their best PK player, Zdeno Chara, off the ice with a high-sticking penalty.

But Thomas was more good than he was lucky while stopping 17 pucks in the third period. He also got defensive support from Chara with a kicking stop of a Kings shot headed for the back of the net in the final minutes of the third.

Sometimes you do what youve got to do with everybody getting thrown at the net, said Thomas. I was lucky to have a 6-foot-9 giant on my side.

Nearly every stop on Thomas part was a deft, acrobatic stop from a master goaltender, and belied the fact that it was the 15th straight game for the All-Star netminder.

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

First Celtics practice 'a little different' but 'feels right' for Horford

WALTHAM, Mass. – NBA players are creatures of habit so you can understand why Al Horford was just a little bit out of his element on his first practice with the Boston Celtics.
 
After nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Horford hit the free agent market this summer and signed a four-year, $113 million with the Celtics.
 
Horford acknowledged that his first practice with the Celtics “was a little different” but added, “It’s definitely a weird feeling, but it feels right to be here.”

Players, coaches, national pundits, the list is seemingly endless when it comes to folks who believe Horford is an ideal fit with the Boston Celtics.
 
“He can do score in the paint, shoot 3s, defend, pass, he can do it all out there,” Amir Johnson told CSNNE.com. “He’s going to fit in well with us.”
 
But like any rookie or newcomer to a team, Horford admitted he had some moments when he was a step or two late getting to where he needed to be on the floor.
 
“We’re running through a lot of plays, a lot of concepts being thrown out,” Horford said. “It’s a matter of getting comfortable with all the sets.”
 
As much as he will work to figure things out, Horford is wise enough to know he’ll need the help of his new teammates, too.
 
“I’m going to lean on a lot of the guys,” Horford said. “I’ll definitely ask a lot of questions. Avery (Bradley) already has gotten in my ear, anything I need he’s there for me. I just want to get acclimated as fast as I can.”
 
Horford also said that head coach Brad Stevens has been extremely helpful in assisting him in speeding up his learning curve.
 
“Coach (Stevens) is very sharp, very . . .  he explains things well,” Horford said. “He explains things well. He wants practice to move along. The pace of practice, definitely a faster pace.”
 
But you won’t find Horford complaining.
 
Horford is clearly excited about starting this new chapter in his basketball career.
 
“For me it’s more of a relief, finally being here in Boston, house, being settled,” Horford said. “Now we can just focus on the season.”