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Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (left), goaltender Curtis McElhinney and defenseman Ryan McDonagh battle to keep Hurricanes center Jordan Staal from the net in Tampa Bay's 3-1 win over Carolina at Amalie Arena Thursday night.
It wasn’t pretty, but Tampa Bay’s win moves it into first place in the Central Division.
Usually a presence on the penalty kill, the forward has given the power play a much-needed boost.
The shutout is the first of the season for Tampa Bay and 22nd of Vasilevskiy’s career.
The center was recalled from AHL Syracuse on Feb. 15 and played on the fourth line Wednesday.

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  1. Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (left), goaltender Curtis McElhinney and defenseman Ryan McDonagh battle to keep Hurricanes center Jordan Staal from the net in Tampa Bay's 3-1 win over Carolina at Amalie Arena Thursday night.
  2. Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (19) picks up a holding penalty against Lightning center Blake Coleman during the first period Thursday at Amalie Arena.
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) works to keep the puck out against Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal (11) during second period action at Amalie Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021 in Tampa.
  4. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77), celebrates with Ross Colton, second from left, defenseman Jan Rutta, second from right, and left wing Alex Killorn (17), after Colton scored his first NHL goal.
  5. The struggling Montreal Canadiens fired head coach Claude Julien, back left, Wednesday following a three-game skid. Assistant coach Dominique Ducharme, back right, was appointed interim coach.
  6. Lightning center Yanni Gourde had two new linemates on Monday night and developed instant chemistry with Alex Killorn and Alex Barre-Boulet in Tampa Bay's 4-2 win.
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning rookie Alex Barre-Boulet skates against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in Raleigh, N.C.
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat reacts after his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in Raleigh, N.C.
  9. New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence after a Russian tabloid printed allegations from a former coach that he attacked an 18-year-old woman in Latvia in 2011.
  10. The Carolina Hurricanes' Vincent Trocheck (16) reaches for the puck controlled by the Tampa Bay Lightning's Alex Killorn during the third period on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, in Raleigh, N.C.
  11. Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (39) turns away the shot of the Lightning's Alex Killorn (17) during the first period.
  12. The Lightning's Brayden Point (21) brings the puck down the ice as the Hurricanes' Brady Skjei (76) defends during a game in January in Raleigh, N.C.
  13. Lightning right wing Alexander Volkov (92) handles the puck as Florida Panthers right wing Owen Tippett (74) defends Monday at Amalie Arena.
  14. Ryan Callahan, center, and Tony Luftman, left, listen to Scott Hartnell, right, on a broadcast of NHL Tonight.
  15. Brayden Point and the Lightning have seen their first two series with the Stars, their Stanley Cup finals opponent last year, postponed.
  16. Lightning players, from left, including Erik Cernak (81), Ryan McDonagh, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point (21) and Ondrej Palat (18) celebrate a Stamkos goal during Monday's game at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  17. A woman wrapped in a blanket crosses the street near downtown Dallas, Tuesday. Temperatures dropped into the single digits as snow shut down air travel and grocery stores.
  18. Florida Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman is mobbed moments after scoring while Lightning right wing Barclay Goodrow (19) skates to the bench during the third period of Monday's loss at Amalie Arena.
  19. With sparse traffic on the road, snow and ice cover U.S. 75 heading into downtown Dallas on Monday.
  20. Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney is beaten by Panthers right wing Owen Tippett during the second period of Monday night's game at Amalie Arena.
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