Habs fans swarm to catch historic NHL playoff series in downtown Montreal

The Montreal Canadiens returned home for the third game of the finals to the delight of the fans.

Around the Bell Centre Friday night, the atmosphere was overexcited before the game: people were rejoicing with signs in hand, proudly displaying the colors of the Tricolore.

Alexis Raymond and his friends were convinced that the Habs will win the game: "We have to. We drove two hours to get here," he said.

The five friends from Ontario wanted to experience the atmosphere even though they could not get tickets and had to watch the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning through a restaurant bar window.

Étrange situation dans le Quartier des spectacles pour la diffusion du 3e match. Il y a davantage de partisans agglutinés à l’extérieur du site… qu’à l’intérieur. #noovoinfo pic.twitter.com/SRoeHOtLkD

— Louis-Philippe Bourdeau (@LouisPhilippeB) July 3, 2021

A band entertained the crowd that lined the Avenue des Canadiens before the game kicked off.

Many came with their families to take part in the celebration.

Young Xavier Marquis was accompanied by his mother, father and younger sister.

The teenager is counting on the Montreal team to win tonight. "They don't have a choice," otherwise it will be more complicated to come back and win, he said.

And if the team loses, "It's not over until it's over," said his mother, with a smile.

The City of Montreal is organizing broadcasts of the final series between the Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Quartier des spectacles downtown and on the esplanade of the Olympic Park where several thousand fans gathered.

"For several days now, we have been working hard to find solutions to offer Montrealers places to gather, in compliance with health measures in force, to watch the Montreal Canadiens games for free," said Mayor Valérie Plante on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on July 2, 2021. 


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