MONTREAL -- Hockey fans began pouring into the streets of Montreal on Wednesday night to celebrate the Canadiens' gripping series-clinching victory over the arch-enemy Boston Bruins.

Droves emerged from downtown bars, as did many of the 21,000 fans who packed the Bell Centre to watch the Habs' 3-1 victory over the Bruins on giant screens.

As the game played in Boston came to an end, even Montreal police officers stationed on Sainte-Catherine Street pumped their fists in celebratory manner.

The victory sent the Canadiens into the Eastern Conference final agaist the New York Rangers.

The Bell Centre was a sea of red, white and blue as fans took advantage of $10 tickets to watch the game 500 kilometres away.

Some of the proceeds were destined for a Canadiens charity fund for children.

There were reports of people selling tickets for $50 in the hours leading up to the game.

Mario Trudelle attended the game with his wife, their two children and three other kids.

Everyone in the gang was wearing a Canadiens top except one young Bruins fan.

"We accept everybody," said Trudelle, who predicted a 4-2 Montreal victory.

Team spokesman Donald Beauchamp said the 21,000-odd tickets sold out in two hours.

Police were hoping the event wouldn't turn into a repeat of 2010 after fans at the Bell Centre watched the Canadiens eliminate the Penguins in a game played in Pittsburgh.

Mayhem ensued in downtown Montreal, with store windows smashed and rioters clashing with police.

Police have beefed up their playoff presence in recent years and always have a strong visibility on bustling Sainte-Catherine Street before and after games, particularly for series-deciding matchups.

A team spokeswoman confirmed that alcohol would be sold at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night

Beauchamp said authorities have done a good job "as far as prevention with what happens post-Canadiens games."

"What happened in the past was not necessarily people who were at the venue," he said.

"It was people who were not necessarily in the building."