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Boston celebrates; few serious incidents

BOSTON -- Boston police reported several arrests but few serious incidents as Bruins fans reveled in the team's first Stanley Cup championship in nearly four decades. Precautions taken Wednesday allowed the city to avoid the violence and destruction that have plagued past sports celebrations.

Cheers erupted from fans who packed bars and restaurants to watch the Bruins defeat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 Wednesday in the seventh and deciding game of the series. Many had not been born when Boston last won the Cup in 1972.

"I'm a diehard Bruins fan and I wanted to be in Boston for it," said Colleen Liffers, 22, of Newburyport, Mass. "This is so unbelievable."

Liffers and her friends left the nightclub Howl at the Moon after the game ended. Like many fans, they headed directly for the TD Garden, the home of the Bruins. There they planned to continue celebrating although the team was thousands of miles away in Vancouver.

But they were met by hundreds of police officers, some in riot gear. Streets were closed to traffic and barricades were set up.

Video from a television station showed fans surrounding and rocking a bus that was carrying some police units to the scene. State police said some unruly fans pulled down street signs, and some climbed on parked cars.

Yet it appeared that police were able to act on lessons learned from recent Boston sports titles. Raucous celebrations after big wins by the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics in the past seven years have resulted in three deaths and widespread vandalism.

"It's fair to say that the vast majority of fans celebrated responsibly, and officers have done an excellent job of keeping order," Elaine Driscoll, a spokeswoman for the Boston police, said early Thursday.

Driscoll said there were no immediate reports of injuries. She said police would not have an exact count on arrests until later in the day.

In Vancouver, disappointed fans set some cars on fire and tipped over others after their team's loss.