July 8, 2021
The end of the Montreal Canadiens‘ unlikely playoff run late Wednesday night resulted in three arrests and 34 tickets in the downtown area, according to police.
The defeat resulted in what appeared to be a relatively calm night compared to the previous celebrations, cheers and vandalism that erupted in the city when the Habs ousted the Vegas Golden Knights in the third round in late June.
The storied club was faced a do-or-die scenario against the Tampa Bay Lightning for Game 5 in Florida, but fell with a 1-0 loss.
A sea of devoted fans spread out as part of viewing parties in Montreal, including outside the Bell Centre downtown and at the Olympic Stadium in the east end. A heavy police presence accompanied the crowds.
The nail-biting game was difficult for Brittany Laflamme, who has an allegiance to both teams.
“My dad cheers for the Montreal Canadiens so I have to be a bit conflicted. I love both of them but I love Tampa better,” she said.
Despite the defeat, there was still the magic of the Habs making it to the Stanley Cup final for the first since 1993, when the team hoisted the trophy.
“I absolutely feel horrible but we came a long way,” one woman said while walking away from the Bell Centre. “Next year, we’re getting it.”
The loss is tough, but the historic and improbable series of games that led the Canadiens to the final brightened what was for many an otherwise hard year marred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We made it,” Jeremy Climaco said. “We made it this far, in a tough year, after whatever happened globally, this is the best moment that I got to live as a Montrealer.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated the team on social media, writing “you’ve kept us on the edge of our seats during these playoffs — and we can’t wait to see you here again next year.”
What a season for our @CanadiensMTL! You've kept us on the edge of our seats during these playoffs – and we can't wait to see you here again next year. #GoHabsGo
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 8, 2021
Quebec Premier François Legault, who has been dutifully weighing in before and after most games, thanked the team on Twitter for the lively, scrappy playoff run.
“Defeating Toronto, Winnipeg and Vegas in the playoffs is extraordinary,” he wrote on Twitter, adding “see you next year.”