The Rangers lost their third straight Thursday night, falling 3-1 to Tampa Bay in a Game 5 heartbreaker at Madison Square Garden. The loss puts New York on the brink of elimination, needing to win Saturday at Amalie Arena, where the Lightning haven’t lost in over a month, to extend their season.
Fans were understandably upset after seeing the Rangers allow two goals, including an empty-netter to seal the win for Tampa, in the game’s final two minutes. One fan, later identified as 29-year-old James Anestasio of Staten Island, let his emotions get the best of him, clobbering an unsuspecting Lightning fan with a vicious sucker punch. The ugly incident was captured on video with Anestasio, seen wearing a red Artemi Panarin shirsey, slugging the fan as the two were exiting. Eyewitnesses say the Lightning fan was out several minutes before finally regaining consciousness.
Police told the New York Post a Good Samaritan was also assaulted after trying to intervene. Luckily, neither victim required medical attention. Anestasio was ultimately arrested and now faces two counts each of assault, disorderly conduct and harassment. MSG is still investigating the attack, though one would guess Anestasio won’t be allowed back in the arena any time soon. He’ll probably want a good lawyer too, now that his video has made the rounds on social media with over two million views on Twitter.