In Montreal, police closed streets near the Bell Centre, where a thick throng of fans gathered as the Canadiens face the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night for Game 6 of the NHL playoff run.
“Please do not go into the area,” the police force said on social media as the first period came to an end.
The crowd was bursting with excitement at the possibility of the Habs eliminating the club from Sin City — and heading to the Stanley Cup final.
The Golden Knights aren’t going down without a fight, though, as both teams fired a flurry of shots throughout the first period and remain tied at 1-1.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante already issued a plea for people to be responsible through the evening, which also happens to coincide with festivities for Quebec’s Fête nationale holiday.
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“Tonight I ask for the co-operation of all Montrealers to celebrate passionately but respectfully,” she wrote on social media.
The improbable playoff run along with June 24 celebrations in a city that is gradually reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic means a heavier police presence before, during and after the game.
The pandemic has forced a cap on how many people can attend the game — but the 3,500 ticket holders cheered and hollered as the team skated out onto the ice.
The unexpected journey for the Canadiens has captivated the city and the hockey world. In the first round, Montreal came back to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs. That was followed by a quick sweep of the Winnipeg Jets.
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The third round has been trickier, but the North Division’s fourth seed currently leads the series 3-2 after clinching a victory Tuesday night in Vegas.
It’s the first time since 1993 that Montreal is one win away from the Stanley Cup final.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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