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Canadiens earn another road win against Devils

by Dan Rosen

NEWARK, N.J. -- Carey Price did his part again, and he and his teammates found two new players to praise Saturday night.

It's been that way all season for the surprisingly successful Montreal Canadiens.

Price made 32 saves for his 15th win of the season, but Colby Armstrong and rookie defenseman Jarred Tinordi were the talk of the team following a 2-1 victory against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Armstrong scored his first goal of the season in the first period, and Tinordi picked up the lone assist on Tomas Plekanec's game-winner in the third for his first point in his NHL debut.

The Canadiens have won five in a row for the second time this season and moved back into first place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points in 28 games, including 22 points earned in 14 road games.

Price kept pace with Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for the most wins in the NHL. Fleury shut out the New York Rangers, 3-0, Saturday, to give the Penguins 42 points in 29 games.

Montreal next plays Tuesday at home against the Buffalo Sabres.

"It's nice to see guys contributing and it's really good to see [Armstrong] get one," Price said. "Everybody is doing their job correctly and we're reaping the benefits right now."

New Jersey goalie Johan Hedberg made 20 saves in his career-high 12th straight start, and defenseman Peter Harrold scored his first goal of the season, but the Devils lost in regulation for the first time in four games. They dropped to seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

They're off until Tuesday, when they play the slumping New York Rangers.

"You know it's pretty frustrating when you play well, give them a heck of a fight but come up short in the end," Ilya Kovalchuk said. "We just [have to] take all the positives. The schedule is not going to get any easier."

Price and others were particularly impressed with Tinordi, the son of former NHL defenseman Mark Tinordi. Jarred had an assist and played 19 shifts totaling 14:48 of ice time, more than coach Michel Therrien planned on giving him.

"It was well deserved," Therrien said. "Sometimes you see a player feel comfortable on the ice and we're not afraid to use them in that situation. He looked really comfortable, not nervous. He was making the right decision. He didn't throw the puck away for no reason and his gap was good. He was using his stick at the right time. He was really effective."

Price said Tinordi looked like a veteran for most of his first NHL game.

"He was very poised with the puck, making solid passes," Price said. "His positional play was great all night."

Tinordi, who had his father and other family members drive up from their home in Millersville, Md., for the game, picked up his first NHL point when Plekanec deflected his point shot past Hedberg at 6:49 of the third period.

Tinordi said he was shooting to put the puck on the net and was surprised Plekanec was able to get his stick on it. It was Montreal's first shot on goal in nearly 15 minutes.

"When I was coming by the bench all the boys were pretty happy for me, so it was good to see," Tinordi said.

The Canadiens also were thrilled for Armstrong, whose goal 8:08 into the first period was his first since Feb. 25, 2012, when he played for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov tripped and coughed up the puck in the defensive zone, leaving it for Armstrong, who carried it into the right circle and ripped a shot into the far corner.

"It's nice to see [Armstrong] pitch in," Montreal captain Brian Gionta said. "I know he's been frustrated, but he's been playing great for us all year and it's nice for him to finally get rewarded with one."

Therrien said Armstrong's goal energized everybody on the Canadiens bench.

"The last two weeks I could see Colby start to get some chances, and when a player gets some chances you know eventually he's going to be able to score some goals," Therrien said. "It was a big release for him."

The Devils had their chances, but Price was sound with his positioning all night and left few rebounds in front of the crease. Therrien called his goaltender "a true leader for us out there."

Kovalchuk said, "I think he's one of the best goalies in the League now. He's the reason why they're in first place."

Kovalchuk did beat Price in the second period; he just couldn't beat the post as his blast off a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush caught all iron. He was inches away from scoring his League-leading fifth shorthanded goal of the season.

"It's a good thing we killed the penalty," Kovalchuk said, referring to a hooking minor to Harrold. "If we get a goal, that's the bonus. We didn't get it that time."

New Jersey was credited with 13 shots during the final nine minutes, but Price was able to preserve the lead and the Canadiens' 19th win of the season; that's 12 shy of the amount of wins they had in 82 games last season.

"It's just good teamwork," Price said. "It's cliché, but really that's what is working for us. It's good to see we're sticking to it."


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