Brad Penner | USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers fell to the brink of elimination with a 3-1 loss to the Lightning on Thursday night.

And then everyone started throwing hands.

The Blueshirts and Bolts scrapped on the ice after the final horn. At least that was a fair fight. Then some guy took this apparent vicious cheap shot on a Lightning fan while leaving Madison Square Garden.

What a disgrace. You can’t do that in a civilized society. Good on the fans who tended to the man who was knocked out. And good on the fan in the Mika Zibanejad jersey who gave an eyewitness account to Garden security. It sounds like the guy who appears to have thrown the punch may have been corralled (Update: he was).


This is the type of stunt that can ruin lives. Especially in a post-game scene at the Garden, which is always mayhem and always feels like it’s on the verge of becoming a stampede situation. I can’t say I’m shocked, either. I’ve been to Ranger playoff games. There is always a small segment of the crowd that is just too over the top. Regardless of whatever criminal charges this person may face, they should be looking at a lengthy — maybe permanent — ban from MSG once the process plays out and all the facts come to light. The way the fan seems to actually consider their actions, and then throws the punch? Come on. It’s just a hockey game.

Also: The post-game fighting was a bad look by the Rangers. Like they were trying to save the foundation after the building burned down. They’ve had several opportunities to put the Lightning away. They’ve failed to capitalize on all of them. And now the two-time reigning Stanley Cup champions are going to show them just how far they still have to go to be at that level (and protect Justin Bieber’s tour date).