MONTREAL - Forty-one people were arrested in the mayhem after the Montreal Canadiens’ Game 7 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Some stores were looted and police fired tear gas at hundreds of bottle-throwers.
The Canadiens ousted the defending champions Wednesday night to reach the Eastern Conference final against Boston or Philadelphia, prompting a celebration that degenerated into the looting of several businesses along the Sainte-Catherine Street shopping district.
Those arrested early Thursday were charged with breaking and entering, theft, assault and public mischief, police chief inspector Sylvain Lemay said
Police estimated as many as 50,000 people took part in celebration outside the downtown arena. More than 20,000 filed out of the Bell Centre after the 5-2 victory. Many of these fans moved a few blocks north to join those along Sainte-Catherine Street.
Lemay said 400 to 500 people were partying when looting began after midnight. A sporting goods outlet and a liquor store were hit hard.
The scene, however, was not as chaotic as it was two years ago when cars were burned and downtown stores were trashed and looted after the Canadiens beat Boston in the first round of the playoffs. There also were riots after Montreal’s Stanley Cup victories in 1986 and 1993.
“There was very little damage compared to 2008,” Lemay said.
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