Rangers fan arrested after vicious attack on Lightning fan following Tampa Bay’s Game 5 victory
A New York Rangers fan was arrested Friday after he was caught on sucker-punching another man following the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 3-1 victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night.
James Anastasio, a 29-year-old Staten Island resident, was charged with two counts of assault, two accounts of disorderly conduct and two accounts of harassment after he was identified as the fan who viciously attacked a Tampa Bay fan in a that has since gone viral on social media, according to FOX 13.
Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers had been undefeated for eight-straight games until Thursday’s loss, released a statement condemning the incident.
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A general view during the first period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on June 9, 2022 in New York City.
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
“Last night, an abhorrent assault took place against a Tampa Bay fan at the conclusion of the game — followed by a second assault against an individual who bravely intervened,” the statement read.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
“All guests — no matter what team they support — should feel safe and respected in The Garden. This has and always will be our policy.”
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The statement went on to say that Anastasio would receive a lifetime ban from MSG and all other affiliated venues as a result.
Mikhail Sergachev #98 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the second period against the New York Rangers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on June 9, 2022 in New York City.
(Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
An NYPD spokesperson told the New York Post that after the altercation, the suspect left the scene and was stopped by an eyewitness who was also punched in the face. Police said the initial incident began with an interaction between the suspect and victim, but witnesses said the attack was unprovoked.
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Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning fights with Alexis Lafrenière #13 of the New York Rangers at the end of the third period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on June 9, 2022 in New York City.
(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The victim received medical attention on the scene, according to MSG.