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Rangers fan who sucker punched Lightning fan pleads guilty

A video showing James Anastasio turning and punching a man wearing a Bolts jersey went viral during the NHL playoffs.
Madison Square Garden banned New York Rangers fan James Anastasio for life following his arrest.
Madison Square Garden banned New York Rangers fan James Anastasio for life following his arrest. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Sep. 7|Updated Sep. 8

The New York Rangers fan arrested for flooring a Tampa Bay Lightning fan with a sucker punch at Madison Square Garden pleaded guilty to a single charge of third-degree assault Wednesday in Manhattan.

James Anastasio, 29, of Staten Island, was sentenced to an anger management program with 200 hours of community service and a full order of protection to keep him away from the victim, said a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Anastasio was seen by millions in a viral video knocking out a man in a Bolts jersey as they exited the arena after a playoff game on June 9. The Lightning won, 3-1.

Madison Square Garden banned Anastasio for life following his arrest.

Anastasio initially was charged with multiple counts of assault and pleaded not guilty.

His attorney, Jason Goldman, said at the time that surveillance footage would show an outnumbered Anastasio tried to diffuse the situation, but was “ultimately threatened by a group of highly intoxicated individuals.”

Goldman said on Wednesday that “this speedy resolution aligns with James’ desire to take responsibility. None of us should be judged by our worst 30 seconds, and he is grateful to learn from this experience without having to spend a single day in jail.”

In June, the Lightning confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times that the team sent the man who got punched a package of team playoff gear, but it did not release the man’s name.

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