It's only one game but it's a start

I can't exactly say the pregame ceremony was a fleeting instance and the team returned to business and la-de-da. Tampa Bay unveiled the 2003-04 Stanley Cup Championship banner before the game and it's a huge piece of fabric, to say the least, and untraditional in it's design - displaying the Cup predominantly and the Lightning crest int he upper right hand corner.

The Stanley Cup Banner

Before the banner was raised, the Cup was paraded through the stands by it's keepers and brought down onto the ice for one more moment of triumph in what will probably go down as the longest ownership of the Cup in league history.

It was raised, there was rejoicing and the Lightning moved on quickly as Ruslan Fedotenko turned what looked like a clearing by Carolina into a a pass to Vaclav Prospal sitting in front of the Carolina Net. Notch one at 1:21 of the first...

...The Brad Richards got intot he act on a Five on three powerplay....

....Then Dan Boyle decided to join the fray with the help of Prospal, Fedotenko and Lecavalier.

It was 3-1 after the first and the Lightning were cruising. The fans were quite in the game at that point and cheering for everything...

Carolina shut them up early in the 2nd as Eric Staal scored 54 seconds into the 2nd. That, or you can blame SunSports TV for having audio difficulties, take your pick (and either reasoning would be legit).

Yet did the Bolts roll over the and die? Did the US roll over and die after the Germans attacked Pearl Harbor (bless you, Animal House)? Nooooooooo. Of coruse not! And seeing one Vinny was already on the board - the other Vinny had make a name for himself too tonight as Lecavalier notched #1 on the season and put the Lightning back up by a deuce.

Prospal had 3 points on the night are 81 games from the possibility of another CUp run... Just like everyone else.