Rangers fan arrested after knocking out Lightning fan with vicious sucker-punch

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A Rangers fan, identified as James Anastasio, was arrested following an assault on a Lightning fan after Game 5 at Madison Square Garden. (@ScottKaplanOn/Twitter)
A Rangers fan, identified as James Anastasio, was arrested following an assault on a Lightning fan after Game 5 at Madison Square Garden. (@ScottKaplanOn/Twitter)

The New York Rangers’ eight-game winning streak at Madison Square Garden came to an end on Thursday night when they fell to the brink of elimination with a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

At the final buzzer, a scrum ensued on the ice with Bolts captain Steven Stamkos and young Rangers star forward Alexis Lafreniere throwing punches. At least that was a fair fight.

Rangers fans exited MSG in frustration after the loss and one of them took things too far. As a Lightning fan celebrated his team’s victory behind him, he was viciously attacked.

Warning: Graphic content

The perpetrator, later identified as 29-year-old James Anastasio of Staten Island, turned around and sucker-punched him on the side of the head as the Lightning fan never had a chance to protect himself.

The victim collapsed and hit his head on the ground. He was tended to by more amicable Rangers fans, who say he regained consciousness five minutes after the attack. According to Evan Axelbank of Fox 13, the New York Police Department said the victim was taken to hospital and is in stable condition.

Witnesses told the New York Police Department that the assault took place around 11:30 p.m. ET after both fans started arguing and the altercation escalated.

Anastasio was arrested and charged with two counts of assault, two counts of disorderly conduct and two counts of harassment.” That’s because, per WTSP 10 Tampa Bay, he reportedly assaulted a witness who attempted to stop him. According to the officers, the witness “sustained pain and bruises on his face” but did not undergo medical treatment.

In a statement released on Friday, MSG condemned the assault and said they have banned Anastacio for life from The Garden and all other MSG venues, which includes Hulu Theater at MSG, Radio City Music Hall, Beacon Theatre and The Chicago Theatre.

Game 6 takes place in Tampa Bay, with the Lightning now just one victory away from a meeting with the Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Final and a shot at a third consecutive title.

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