These Bruins are not your typical Stanley Cup champions, and the man in front of net is anything but ordinary.

As the horn sounded the ended of the game, the Bruins mobbed Tim Thomas, the athletic, aggressive goalie whose acrobatics in front of net stymied the high-power Vancouver offense and brought the Stanley Cup back to Boston for the first time since 1972.

The Bruins' unflappable netminder capped a stellar playoff run with a shutout in Game Seven of the finals and earned the Conn Smythe trophy for postseason MVP. A brick wall all playoffs, Thomas's play in the deciding game was nothing short of spectacular.

The 37 year old stopped 37 shots for his second shutout of the finals. The oldest Conn Smythe winner in NHL history stopped 238 of Vancouver's 246 shots in the finals and saved his best for last.

The Canucks, winners of the President's Trophy for best regular-season team, could not find the back of the net against Thomas and were shut out twice in the last four games of the series.

Against an offense featuring twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin, the NHL's last two regular-season scoring leaders, Thomas posted a save percentage of .967 and thrilled Bruins fans by going after Canucks players who encroached on his crease.

His journey to the NHL has been arduous, but the difficulties he faced early in his career gave him the fortitude to bring the Bruins back from 2-0 series deficits twice, and win three Game Sevens in the playoffs, a feat accomplished by no other team.

Thomas posted shutouts in the decisive games of the Eastern Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals. Seven-teen years after being drafted, he finally got to hold aloft every hockey player's dream: the Stanley Cup.

After his graduation from UVM, where he still holds goalie records for most games played, wins, and saves, Thomas bounced around Europe and the minor leagues, playing for 10 different teams in eight years. His journey included stints in Sweden and Finland, before he finally earned the Bruins starting spot in 2005.

During the summer of 2007, Thomas switched to a yoga-based strength and conditioning program. Since then, he has won the Vezina Trophy for best regular season goalie, broken the NHL's regular-season save percentage record, and in these playoffs set records for most postseason saves and most saves during a postseason series.

The Bruins may not have had the talent of past Stanley Cup champions, they may not even have had the talent of their opponents the Canucks, but in the end this gritty, resilient team and their inspired goaltender proved that determination can never be underestimated.

The Stanley Cup is returning to Boston after a 39 year absence. But its journey since it left has been less amazing than that of the man who finally brought it back.

The Bruins are best in the NHL for one year, and it's mainly due to a gutsy, Finnish-speaking, 37 year old yogi who's been everywhere and back.