MONTREAL (AP) -Thousands of ecstatic Montreal Canadiens fans streamed into the downtown core Wednesday night to celebrate the beloved Habs' 5-2 road victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of their playoff series.
Fireworks erupted over the skyline and thousands of revelers packed Ste-Catherine Street in an impromptu procession that followed a man carrying a stuffed penguin over his shoulders. The atmosphere immediately after the game was festive - only five arrests were reported - and lacked the ugliness that has marked other celebrations.
The flag-waving crowd was as euphoric as the 21,000 fans who had crammed into the Bell Centre to watch the game on giant screens. After the game, they spilled out into the streets chanting, "We want the Cup! We want the Cup!"
Many of the fans exchanged high-fives and boasted the Canadiens will continue their strong play all the way to their first Stanley Cup since 1993.
Ronnie Cukier went downtown with his daughter and her friends because he wanted them to experience a true Montreal hockey celebration - a rarity since the Habs delivered that championship 17 years ago.
"We've been waiting for this Cup for a long time," Cukier said. "I've seen a few already, but let the kids see a few of them. Now's our time."