Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko looks on during the first...

Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko looks on during the first period of an NHL game against the Bruins on Oct. 5 at Madison Square Garden. Credit: Noah K. Murray

For weeks, Rangers forward Kaapo Kakko worried that, regardless of how hard he worked, or how responsible he was defensively, his lack of scoring was eventually going to get him dropped from the top line.

When it happened, before Tuesday’s 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings, the 22-year-old was philosophical.

“I mean, it didn't work out, and I have a new chance, a new line,’’ he said after coach Peter Laviolette made the change at practice Monday. “Hopefully, it will go [well].’’

“Through the course of 11 games, it just hasn't clicked the way that you would want, from a production standpoint,’’ Laviolette said of dropping Kakko and replacing him with veteran Blake Wheeler. “And I'm not saying that that's [on] Kaapo. I'm just saying that, that's just the reality of it. And so you try and make a change, to see if it changes things up. I don't think that's a bad thing.’’

Playing the first 11 games of the season with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, Kakko had one goal and one assist. Against the Red Wings, Laviolette put him with rookie left wing Will Cuylle (two goals and one assist) and center Nick Bonino (no goals, no assists).

“I think right now, I’m just trying to find my game,’’ Kakko said.

Cuylle scored his third goal of the season, at 14:10 of the second period to give the Rangers a 5-0 lead. Kakko did not score, but was a plus-1, with two shots on goal in 12 minutes, 10 seconds of ice time. Wheeler did not score in 9:53.

Blue notes

After the game, the Rangers sent G Louis Domingue, D Connor Mackey and F Jonny Brodzinski back to AHL Hartford, in order to bank some salary-cap space for Wednesday. Domingue backed up starter Jonathan Quick on Tuesday, but Mackey and Brodzinski were scratched … Laviolette, said he didn’t expect D Adam Fox, who is on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) with a lower-body injury, to miss months, or perhaps the rest of the season. “I don't think that that's what we're talking about,’’ the coach said. He did add that neither Fox, nor C Filip Chytil, who is on regular injured reserve, has skated since getting injured Thursday … G Igor Shesterkin, who missed his second straight game with an undisclosed injury, skated for a portion of the optional morning skate, after taking part in about half of Monday’s practice … F Barclay Goodrow returned to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game in Minnesota due to the birth of his son.

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