Just as the Rangers are supposed to get one key player back in the lineup, they potentially lost another.
Kaapo Kakko exited late in the second period of the Rangers’ matchup with the Sabres on Monday night at the Garden after falling awkwardly on his left leg in a collision with Buffalo defenseman Erik Johnson along the boards.
The Finnish wing immediately grabbed at his left knee and squirmed on the ice in apparent pain.
Replay on the MSG video board drew an audibly queasy reaction from the crowd.
When he was brought to his skates and helped off the ice, Kakko couldn’t put any weight on his left leg.
This is the latest injury in a month that has severely tested the Rangers’ depth.
The Rangers lost both Adam Fox and Filip Chytil in the Nov. 2 game against the Hurricanes.
Fox landed on long-term injured reserve after sustaining a lower-body, while Chytil was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.
Fox, who skated as a full participant in the Rangers morning skate on Monday, is eligible to return on Wednesday against the Red Wings.
On the other hand, Chytil has only just resumed skating on his own and is not on pace for a return any time soon.
The Rangers also briefly lost both their top goalies, Igor Shesterkin and Jonathan Quick, which forced the club to turn to Louis Domingue and Dylan Garand for a game.
In 19 games this season, Kakko has collected two goals and one assist.