A remorseful Artem Anisimov
met the New York media on Friday, one day after his controversial gun-shooting goal celebration at Madison Square Garden against the Tampa Bay Lightning
put him in the spotlight.
Anisimov apologized to the Lightning and vowed to never do it again.
"It's a good lesson for me," he said, according to ESPNNewYork.com. "No more shooting."
After scoring a shorthanded goal 13:23 into the second period to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead, Anisimov skated back toward the blue line, spun to face the Lightning net, held his stick as if it was a rifle, and pretended to fire shots. Ansimov said his intent was to aim at the net, but Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier
, who was standing between the Rangers' forward and the net, took offense at the celebration.
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Lecavalier raced toward Anisimov, setting off a brawl that ended with the referees doling out 38 minutes in penalties, including 16 to Ansimov, who received a two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, four minutes for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. Ansimov's extra minor for unsportsmanlike conduct put the Rangers down two men for 34 seconds, as Ryan McDonagh
was already in the penalty box for hooking.
Rangers coach John Tortorella said following the game that Anisimov was "a solid, solid guy that made a mistake that I still don't think he really understands what he was doing there." However, the coach also said Anisimov was wrong to celebrate in such a fashion and he did not blame the Lightning for responding the way they did.
Tortorella didn't want Anisimov to talk to the media immediately after the game because he felt the 23-year-old needed to be protected.
Anisimov's protection lasted until after practice Friday.
"It's a big part of his success this year, that he's gained confidence in himself," Tortorella said Friday. "He's gained confidence in interactions. He's speaking better. He's level-headed enough to know that he made a mistake. He's spoken on it and now he's going back to being himself and just play."
The Rangers don't appear angry at Anisimov.
"He gets really excited when he scores," center Brian Boyle
said, according to ESPNNewYork.com. "He's a great teammate and he wants to win but that has nothing to do with trying to show up the other team. What he was trying to do wasn't what people thought it was. We've got Artie's back."
The Rangers also said injured defenseman Marc Staal
, who has been out since training camp with post-concussion symptoms, will be making the trip to Buffalo for Saturday's game. Staal has been skating lightly, but the Rangers have not given a timetable or target date for his return.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl