Given how hockey-mad the city of Montreal is (they did sell out a viewing of Game 7 at the Bell Centre in 40 minutes) and given the somewhat checkered past Canadiens fans have after winning and losing big games, all eyes shifted to Quebec after the Canadiens finished off the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2.
The scene outside Bell Centre, to say the least, was manic, and much like the stereotypes that follow around fans of the Habs, some knuckleheads had to live up to the hype.
Police regained control of the downtown core early Thursday after firing tear gas at hundreds of bottle-tossing youths who looted businesses following the Montreal Canadiens’ Game 7 victory in Pittsburgh.
The vandalism occurred after most of the tens of thousands of jubilant hockey fans left the area.
Looters wrapped their faces in garments — in some cases the ones they’d stolen — and dashed into a liquor store. With their identities concealed, they leaped through the smashed front window and emerged moments later with their arms full.
Every fan base has its morons and having an excited crowd of 21,000 people dump into the streets is often asking for trouble. At least Montreal police was prepared for this, they’ve been through the routine before.
In 2008 dozens of fans were arrested and vehicles — including five police cruisers — and businesses vandalized following the Habs’ seventh-game elimination of the bitter rivals from Boston at the Bell Centre. Damage to the police cars alone was estimated at some $500,000.
That paled in comparison with riots which followed the last time the storied franchise won the Stanley Cup.
In 1993 fans leaving the old Forum converged with fans emptying packed bars along Ste Catherine St. after the Habs beat Los Angeles to claim their 24th title and looted stores all along the strip, setting police vehicles ablaze in a night of frenzy that sent nearly 1,000 officers into the streets and caused some $2.5 million in damage.
All you gather from reading that is just how crazy will things get if the Canadiens continue on this seemingly unbelievable run all the way and win the franchise’s 25th Stanley Cup.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
–The stray cat that ran onto the ice prior to Game 1 between the Sharks and Preds has been named after Joe Pavelski. (Associated Press)
–Speaking of that black cat, here’s a mountain of pucks shaped like the cat. (The Score)
–When Lukas Head was younger, he played with Steven Stamkos and P.K. Subban. Here’s his story. (Toronto Star)
–Watch the highlights from yesterday’s game between the Stars and Blues. (Top)
–A look behind the scenes of the NHL draft lottery. (Canadian Press)
–Two-time Olympic gold medalist Sharon Szabados loves curing and the Oilers and she was forced to make a tough choice on Saturday. (Sportsnet)
—Pascal Dupuis, who was named one of the Masterton Trophy finalists, is adjusting to retirement. (NHL.com)
The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.
San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.
The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.
Here’s the goal:
Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.
Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.
Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.
Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.
The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.
Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.
The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.
It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.
After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.
In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.
You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.
It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:
Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:
You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.
After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.
“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.
“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”
After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.
“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”
And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.
—Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta