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Montreal police on riot watch

Montreal's Bell Centre will be a sea of red, white and blue tonight as Canadiens fans pack the arena to watch their beloved Habs play 500 kilometres away.

The Bruins and Canadiens are tied 3-3 heading into the series decider in Boston.

Tickets for tonight's giant-screen viewing in Montreal cost $10, with some of the proceeds going to a Canadiens charity fund for children.

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

Police will be hoping the event doesn'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.

People also rioted after Montreal eliminated Boston in game seven in round one of the 2008 playoffs.

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 will be on sale at the Bell Centre tonight.

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."

Whoever advances between the Bruins and the Canadiens will play the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference final.

The Canadian Press

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