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Tinordi sets up winner for Montreal in NHL debut

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TOM CANAVAN | March 16, 2013 10:26 PM EST | AP

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NEWARK, N.J. — Big defenseman Jarred Tinordi, in his NHL debut, set up Tomas Plekanec's tiebreaking goal in the third period, and the Montreal Canadiens extended their winning streak to five games with a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.

Plekanec deflected a shot by the 6-foot-6 son of former NHL defenseman Mark Tinordi past Johan Hedberg at 6:49 after the goalie made an ill-advised clearing attempt from behind his net. Tinordi got the puck above the left circle and let it fly.

Colby Armstrong also scored for Montreal, and Carey Price made 32 saves. The Canadiens moved into a tie with Pittsburgh for the most points in the Eastern Conference.

Defenseman Peter Harrold scored for New Jersey, which lost for the second time in two nights (0-1-1).

Tinordi, the Canadiens' first-round draft pick in 2010, was recalled from Hamilton of the AHL on Thursday. He played a regular shift with Francis Bouillon.

Price made Pekanec's 12th goal of the season stand up, stopping 18 shots in the third period. He made a chest save through traffic on Patrik Elias with 1:24 left and stoned Adam Henrique and Travis Zajac in close in the final minute.

Playing for the third time in four nights, the Devils tied it 1-1 on Harrold's power-play goal at 3:54 of the second period.

With Ryan White off for holding the stick, Ilya Kovalchuk intercepted a clearing pass at the right point and slid the puck across the ice to Harrold. The defenseman got a shot off quickly and squeezed it between Price's pads for his first goal since Dec. 2, 2010 – a span of only 26 games for the journeyman, who has spent much of his career in the minor leagues.

Armstrong snapped a 39-game goal drought, dating to February 2012, to give the Canadiens the lead at 8:08 of the first period.

Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov lost his footing shortly after a faceoff. Armstrong retrieved the puck, skated into the right circle and ripped a shot past Hedberg, who made his career-high 12 straight start in place of the injured Martin Brodeur.

Forward Mike Blunden, who grabbed an early-morning flight after being recalled from Hamilton, appeared to screen Hedberg on the play.

Goal posts kept both teams from taking the lead during the same second-period penalty. Kovalchuk, who leads the NHL with four short-handed goals, just missed another on a 2-on-1 break while Harrold was in the penalty box.

Lars Eller beat Hedberg about a minute later, but that puck also struck a post.

NOTES: The Canadiens have scored first in 21 of 28 games. ... Montreal RW Michael Ryder had his streak of 114 consecutive games played snapped because of a lower body injury. He last missed a game in March 2011. ... Devils C Andrei Loktionov, who was hurt Friday against Philadelphia, sat out due to an undisclosed injury. ... C Harri Pesonen made his NHL debut for New Jersey. .. Harrold was cut badly on the forehead by a shot in the third period, but returned to the game. ... The Devils honored former goalie coach Jacques Caron before the game.