Montreal quiet after Habs knocked out
- Police designate a 'festive zone' outside the Bell Centre for fans to gather
- Police will provide updates via Twitter @SPVM.
Montrealers weren't in the mood Wednesday to party —- or riot — thanks to the Boston Bruins Game 7 victory over the Canadiens.
Dozens of police officers patrolled the downtown streets of a city known for boisterous hockey celebrations that occasionally turn violent.
But following the Habs heartbreaking overtime loss, disappointed hockey fans shuffled out of the city core quickly and peacefully.
Only a few faint chants of "Go Habs Go" and the trademark shouts of "Ole! Ole!" could be heard on Ste-Catherine Street after the game.
"We were expecting to have a big party tonight," Habs fan Alex Guertin said as he stood on a Ste-Catherine Street sidewalk.
"We came down here expecting a win, but now that we lost…maybe we're going to go home a little bit earlier."
The Montreal loss ended any hope of the first all-Canadian Stanley Cup Final matchup since 1989, when the Calgary Flames hoisted the trophy after beating the Canadiens in six games.
The Vancouver Canucks, who won their own Game 7 matchup against Chicago on Tuesday, are now the only Canadian team left in the NHL playoffs.
In Montreal, the police department was bracing Wednesday for just about anything.
The city's hockey celebrations have been rowdy in the past, including mayhem that erupted following key Habs victories during the team's improbable run in last year's playoffs.
After the Canadiens eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7, thousands of youths swarmed Ste-Catherine Street where they smashed storefront windows, looted boutiques and tossed bottles at police and their horses.
Montreal police weren't taking any chances this year.
They closed off a large area of downtown during the decisive game, which took place some 500 kilometres away in Boston.
A one-kilometre stretch of busy Ste-Catherine Street was shut down to vehicle traffic from 8 p.m., for what police described as security reasons.
Some officers patrolled the subway system, while others monitored the streets on foot, bicycle and horseback.
But there was little work for police as the streets remained quiet.