I live in Montreal. It felt almost certain, with the amount of fans surrounding the Bell Center on St-Jean Baptiste Day on the evening of Game 6, that some celebrations were going to get out of hand.
Arturri Lekhonen scored the overtime winner, the Habs beat the Vegas Golden Knights to advance to the Stanley Cup finals, the crowd went wild and hours later, the Montreal police (SPVM) arrested 15 people and gave out 60 tickets.
“Arrests were made for assault, obstruction against police work and armed assault on a police officer,” confirmed Julien Lévesque, a spokesperson with Montreal police. “Sixty tickets were also given out.”
Thousands and thousands of people gathered around the Bell Center to take in the game and forced the 3,500 people in attendance to momentarily stay inside the arena by police. Canadiens owner Geoff Molson addressed the crowd, saying “Police have asked us to stay inside tonight until they advise us we can leave. So everyone stay here, cheer hard, have fun and go Habs go.”
Even Habs temporary interim coach Luke Richardson attempted to remind the crowd to celebrate respectfully in his press conference.
"It's a little crazy outside the Bell Centre," Richardson said in his opening remarks. "It's such a special day to celebrate. But let's make sure we all celebrate responsibly and get home safe."
Fans were kept inside the arena for more than 30 minutes after the game ended in an attempt to clear the crowds from downtown. Outside, police had to spray tear gas to disperse rowdy crowds who were throwing objects. On top of that, a cruiser was flipped onto its side and eight police cars were vandalized.
Police preventatively shut down both de Maisonneuve and René-Lévesque boulevards between Guy Street and Robert-Bourassa Boulevard as a crowd of 5,000 gathered to celebrate the Habs’ playoff run.
Here are some shots and footage of what took place in the streets of Montreal in the hours following the Habs advancing to the Stanley Cup final. They advance to the final for the first time since 1993.