The New York Rangers shot themselves in the foot literally when 23 year-old rookie Artem Ansimov’s goal celebration sparked a melee and a Tampa Bay Lightning comeback.
With New York short-handed and the score tied 1-1, Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto fed a pass in front on the Tampa Bay net that Anisimov tapped in for his fifth goal of the season and a 2-1 New York lead. After scoring Anisimov celebrated by using the butt-end of his stick like a rifle, firing several shots toward Tampa’s net. Vinny Lecavalier took exception to the gesture and charged a stunned Ansimov setting of a tussle between the two clubs.
Steve Downie, who jumped over the boards on a controversial line change, sprinted across the ice and joined the scuffle to punch Anisimov. Downie walked a fine line by joining the fray. A player who leaves the bench can and should be suspended, and Downie already has a colorful disciplinary past. He’s been suspended for cross-checking a teammate in the face, slashing a linesman and deliberately injuring an opponent. Can you say Lady Byng? He better take his phone off vibrate because Mr. Shanahan is sure to be calling.
Regardless of the what kind of celebration it was, Ansimov needs to act like he’s scored a goal before. His antics gave the Lightning life, rallying for a 3-2 shoot-out win. He definitely did not earn any brownie points with his teammates for a silly little pantomime. You can bet next time he scores he won’t be quite so….animated.
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