Montreal fans roar as Habs beat Tampa Bay Lightning in tense Game 4 of Stanley Cup final

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Montreal police fired tear gas cannisters at fans soon after Monday's win. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Montreal police fired tear gas cannisters at fans soon after Monday's win. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Montreal hockey fans celebrated Monday with cries and cheers of uninhibited joy after Josh Anderson scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lift the Habs to a 3-2 victory in Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"We needed a victory at home to pump up the entire Habs nation and now we're going to Tampa and we're going to come back," said Habs fan Balraj Jutla after the win as he and hundreds of others celebrated in the streets outside the Bell Centre.

Fans had also packed the area around the stadium to watch the game on large screens.

Game 5 of the best-of-seven match up is set for Wednesday in Tampa. Game 6, if necessary, would be back in Montreal on Friday.

There's a steep hill ahead, Jutla said, but added: "What's a steep hill if you've climbed it before? It's just a hill. That's it."

Jutla, a born-and-raised Montrealer, said he is a Habs fan for life and watching his team move into the final and now take down the Bolts in Game 4 has been "amazing."

Crowd felt larger, says fan

After watching the game from inside the Bell Centre, Mike Monture said he enjoyed the excitement, but he doesn't expect the Habs will take the Cup.

The Habs and Lightning played in front of a crowd of about 3,500. The stadium ordinarily seats more than 21,000, but seating was restricted due to COVID-19 public health restrictions.

Regardless, Monture said the crowd felt larger.

It was loud and "very exciting," said Monture while fans cheered and chanted in the background, spilling out of the Bell Centre and into downtown Montreal.

WATCH | The excitement of Game 4 in Montreal:

Sunil Peetush said he felt euphoric watching the game and has hope that his beloved team will bring home the Stanley Cup.

"If there is a team that could do it, they've shown they have the resilience to do it," said Peetush. "They have this underdog mentality, and maybe this is the right way to go for this team."

Sabrina Delvasto said a lot of people thought the Canadiens were going to lose, and she was excited to see Monday night's victory. She said it is still possible that the Habs take the Stanley Cup.

"I think they have a really good team this year," said Delvasto, who wasn't yet born to see the Habs win the Cup in 1993 — the last time the team made it to the playoffs final.

Before the game got underway, Montreal police warned that it had backup from the provincial police force, Sûreté du Québec, and would not tolerate criminal acts.

Police were out in force Monday evening, working to prevent a repeat of the unrest June 24 after the Habs beat the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

After that victory, Montreal police deployed tear gas in the city's downtown to disperse crowds. Police said people were acting aggressively toward officers, and there were acts of vandalism. Police arrested 15 people that night, and issued 60 tickets for violations such as lighting fireworks.

On Monday morning, Montreal police spokesperson Const. Véronique Comtois declined to say exactly how many officers would be on duty, but made it clear that "the police officers will be ready to intervene."

Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada
Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada

Among Habs fans who was out watching the game Monday night was Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who headed to the Olympic Park to view the match on large screens.

She invited residents to send the local team positive energy by cheering them on in front of the Olympic Stadium or at the Quartier des Spectacles, the city's cultural district, which has a large urban square surrounded by entertainment venues and art galleries.

After it was over, Plante tweeted: "Wow! What an end to the game."

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