Montrealers celebrate as Canadiens eliminate Vegas Golden Knights in overtime

In Montreal, jubilant Habs fans spilled into the streets outside the Bell Centre as their beloved Canadiens head to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1993.

The Habs, considered the underdog in the NHL playoffs, beat the Vegas Golden Knights in a 3-2 upset in overtime Thursday night, putting an end to the third round and sending the favoured team back home to Sin City.

The crowd outside the arena jumped up and down after Artturi Lehkonen scored the winning goal at 1:39 of overtime.

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Chants of “Olé, Olé, Olé” filled the air by fans donning red, white and blue. There was heavy police presence in the downtown core, where streets outside the Bell Centre were closed off to traffic early after the first period.

The victory also happens to coincide with Quebec’s Fete nationale, a statutory holiday that brings its own wave of festivities to the city every year. It also comes as Montreal gradually reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The unexpected journey for the Canadiens has captivated the city and the hockey world. In the first round, Montreal came back to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs. That was followed by a quick sweep of the Winnipeg Jets.

READ MORE: Céline Dion responds after Las Vegas trolls Montreal with image of singer in Golden Knights uniform

The third round was trickier, but the North Division’s fourth seed headed into the sixth and final game with a 3-2 series lead after clinching a victory Tuesday night in Vegas.

Montreal is the first Canadian team in 10 years to advance to the final.

The Habs were also the country’s last Stanley Cup winner, capturing the title in 1993.

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— With files from Global News’ Gloria Henriquez and The Canadian Press

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