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Lightning fan knocked unconscious with sucker punch at Rangers game

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A video circulating online showed what appears to be a Tampa Bay Lightning fan being punched in the face by a New York Rangers fan inside Madison Square Garden Thursday night.

According to a Deputy Commissioner of Public Information (DCPI) statement, the incident occurred inside the arena, located at 2 Pennsylvania Plaza in New York City, at about 10:50 p.m. Thursday after the Lightning won Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, taking a 3-2 series lead.

In the video, the Rangers fan, later identified as James Anastasio, 29, of Staten Island, can be seen following a crowd out of the arena before he turns around and punches a man behind him who is wearing a Lightning jersey.

The video showed the man fall to the ground before bystanders yelled for security and medical attention. The victim was not hospitalized after the attack, police told News Channel 8.

Officials previously said the punch was unprovoked, but sent News Channel 8 a corrected statement, saying the two men had interacted before the assault. They didn’t say what happened.

After the assault, authorities said Anastasio punched a good Samaritan who tried to stop him from running away. The good Samaritan had bruises on his face and was in pain, but the 37-year-old refused medical attention, according to the report.

Officers responded to the scene and detained Anastasio. He was arrested on charges of assault, disorderly conduct and harassment, authorities said.

In a statement, Madison Square Garden condemned the incident calling it an “abhorrent assault.”

“First, we ensured the victims received appropriate medical care and have followed up to provide support from our guest services team,” the statement said. “Equally important, we are cooperating fully with law enforcement as this is now a criminal matter.”

MSG added that “the assailant” will be banned from The Garden and all other MSG venues for life.

“All guests- no matter what team they support- should feel safe and respected in The Garden,” the statement added. “This has and always will be our policy.”

Further information was not immediately available.

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