Montreal police brace for overzealous Habs fans

Montreal Canadiens fans have a bit of a reputation for breaking store windows, flipping cars over and setting things on fire when the Habs win.

Habs are up 3-0 against Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of Stanley Cup playoffs

A burned-out police cruiser sits in downtown Montreal as violence erupted following the Montreal Canadiens' elimination of the Boston Bruins in game seven of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on April 21, 2008. (Peter McCabe/CP)

Montreal Canadiens fans have a bit of a reputation for breaking store windows, flipping cars over and setting things on fire when the Habs win.

It happened in 2008 after the Habs’ seventh-game playoff win over their nemesis, the Boston Bruins.

It happened again in 2010 after the Habs won over the Pittsburgh Penguins during the playoffs.

Of course, those two incidents came years after the infamous Stanley Cup Riot of 1993, when police cars were torched, stores were looted and 115 people were arrested. That riot caused $2.5-million worth of damage in 1993 dollars.

And so the Montreal police will be on guard again tonight as the Habs prepare for a possible series sweep against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The police service refused to comment on the details of their operation, but did say that municipal bylaw P-6 banning unlawful assembly would be applied tonight.

Sgt. Laurent Gingras of Montreal police told The Canadian Press that because no possible itinerary was disclosed, any demonstration will be considered illegal.

“Our goal is to keep traffic circulation fluid and to keep the streets open,” Gingras said.

The P-6 bylaw came into effect in 2012 at the height of the student tuition protests. Under the bylaw, police are able to issue fines to people participating in a protest for which the police were not given a prior itinerary.

In 2010, police were able to locate looters and vandals after the night was over through cellphone videos and photos uploaded to social media networks.

The Habs, who are leading 3-0 in the series, face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning starting at 7 p.m. ET at the Bell Centre.

With files from The Canadian Press

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