Fans wave white towels as Vancouver Canucks\' Roberto Luongo stands in the net after making a save against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period of game 7 of an NHL Western Conference quarterfinal Stanley Cup playoff hockey series in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday April 26, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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.
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.