In what seems like an unlikely Cinderella story, the Montreal Canadiens have defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 5-2 victory and thousands of fans in the Montreal were celebrating their hockey heroes peacefully,but by midnight a riot broke out.
When Montreal became the last Canadian city to have a shot at this year's Stanley Cup fan interest in last night's game was enthusiastic.
The Canadiens organization arranged to have tonight's game televised at Montreal's Bell Center and the place was bedlam with over 21,000 rabid fans attending the Jumbotron broadcast. Montreal beat Pittsburgh in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals to move on to the Conference Finals against either Boston or Philadelphia.
The City of Montreal set up a large area for tailgate celebrations and a DJ and although beer was served at the event, all reports are that the fans are celebrating the victory peacefully.
The Hab's next challenge will be their first conference final in 17 years on Sunday night as the series continues.
"I know our fans will have fun, but with respect and dignity " said Habs hockey legend Rejean Houle who is the team's spokesman.
As thousands of fans peacefully dispersed along Ste Catherine St to parking lots and nightclubs , a small group of 500 or so began taunting police and breaking windows of merchant's who stocked Habs souvenirs and merchandise. As windows broke and vandals looted stores Montreal police dispersed tear gas and waded into the crowd of troublemakers.
It was noted that the fans who buy tickets are not the same people who instigated the riots,this is usually perpetrated by sports hooligans who use the cover of peaceful crowds who are celebrating to create violence and take advantage of the situation by looting, a practice that is not unique to the city of Montreal.
The police made 36 arrests.
The stench of tear gas still prevails on that section of Ste Catherine St.