Fans celebrate in Montreal, Vancouver, after their teams post big NHL playoff wins

MONTREAL – Hockey fans in Montreal and Vancouver flooded the streets in celebrations Tuesday after their NHL teams scored critical playoff victories.

The Montreal Canadiens beat Boston 2-1 to even the best-of-7 first-round playoff at 3-3 and force a seventh and deciding game in Boston on Wednesday.

After the victory, jubilant, chanting Canadiens fans flooded out of the Bell Centre and into the rain-soaked streets.

Montreal hockey celebrations have occasionally turned violent in the past, but Tuesday’s post-game thunderstorm and the presence of police in riot gear ensured fans didn’t congregate in the downtown core.

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Hockey fans in Vancouver also breathed a huge sigh of relief Tuesday when the Canucks beat Chicago 2-1 in overtime in the seventh and deciding game of their first-round series.

Fans poured out the Rogers Arena shouting and waving flags as people drove by in cars honking their horns in celebration. As in Montreal, there was a heavy police presence outside the Vancouver arena to ensure the celebrations did not get out of hand.