Playoff fever starts in Montreal

Canadiens and Lightning begin their series tonight in Tampa

Mayor Denis Coderre tweeted this picture. Flag flying at city hall in honor of the Habs.

Playoff fever is setting in for Montreal Canadiens fans. The first game of their best of seven first-round playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning starts at 7 p.m. tonight in Florida.

The Habs and Evenko are holding a free viewing of the game at the Metropolis. They’re asking fans to wear their bleu, blanc, rouge, come meet Youppi and win free swag. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

“If people show up and they’re excited, if the ambiance is what we think it’s going to be, we’ll definitely look at doing more events like this during the playoffs,” Sandra Rinaldi, spokeswoman for Evenko said.

Businesses are hoping, like the fans, that the Habs take home the Stanley Cup, because the longer they're in the playoffs, the more money they can make.

“We all hope they’re going far, it’s great for our business. For every game it’s completely packed in here, you can hardly walk,” Céline Paquette, employee at Ye Olde Orchard pub downtown told CJAD.

Statistics by Moneris Solutions found that sales in bars could increase by up to 50 percent during the playoffs.

Other fans are choosing to save money and watch the game at home.  Justin Lachapelle made a stadium in his Saint-Lazare backyard this winter, complete with an ice rink, a loge and a Zamboni.  He says the ice is melting but they’ll be watching the games from there.

“It’s a lot of fun and a lot cheaper than the loge at the Bell Centre. A lot of kids come over, it’s pretty special,” Lachapelle told CJAD.

“I just believe, I believe we will win, it’s been 21 years, too long,” he added.

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