Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi has avoided suspension for his high, hard hit on Washington’s Nate Schmidt.

Tinordi leveled Schmidt 1:55 into the third period of Sunday night’s game with a hard hit along the boards.

The 6-foot-6 Tinordi dropped his shoulder down for a clean hit.  Schmidt, who stands six inches shorter, had his head down while playing the puck, resulting in a hit high on his body.

From Andrew Berkshire of Eyes on the Prize:

 [Tinordi] kept his elbow down and exploded after the impact. It’s the definition of a clean, open-ice hit, the kind that Tinordi wants in his game to be successful.

From the Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs, here’s Habs goaltender Carey Price’s take:

“I see a guy (Schmidt) who’s probably six feet (tall), and a guy (Tinordi) who’s 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6. (Schmidt) got caught with his head down and you’ve got a big defenceman (Tinordi) coming across the ice. I don’t know whether (Tinordi) made direct contact with (Schmidt’s) head or not, but (Tinordi) looked like he was trying to make an honest hit.”

Montreal head coach Michel Therrien agreed, saying that he didn’t think Tinordi’s intention was a hit to the head.

Referee Ghislain Hebert, in perfect position to watch the play, did not immediately signal for a penalty.  The call was made by the trailing referee, Dan O’Halloran, who hit Tinordi with a five-minute major for elbowing.

Caps center Chris Brown went after Tinordi while Schmidt lay on the ice.  The fight brought Tinordi’s penalty-minute total to 24 on the night. Before the hit on Schmidt, he’d been tagged twice — once for kneeing and once for tripping.

Schmidt went to the Capitals’ locker room following the play, but reportedly passed concussion tests.  Schmidt returned for one more shift late in the period.

Here’s the full sequence, complete with post-hit fight:

Referees for the game were Ghislain Hebert (#22) and Dan O’Halloran (#13).