Kaapo Kakko of the Rangers is helped off the ice after...

Kaapo Kakko of the Rangers is helped off the ice after an injury during the second period against the Sabres at Madison Square Garden on Monday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Peter Laviolette was clearly in no mood to talk.

The Rangers coach had just watched his team, the team with the best record (15-3-1) in the league entering the day, get rolled over by the middling Buffalo Sabres, 5-1, at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.

Laviolette, normally as patient and cooperative a coach as there is as far as giving thoughtful, meaty answers to reporters’ questions, didn’t seem interested in explaining what exactly had gone so wrong.

“Tough, tough game for us tonight,’’ the coach said to begin his 1 minute, 45-second postgame debrief. “We’ll look at it. Fix it. Be better.’’

The loss, just the second in regulation for the Rangers in their last 16 games (13-2-1), ended a three-game winning streak. And it was even more painful because the team lost forward Kaapo Kakko to what appeared to be a serious knee injury late in the second period.

Kakko was helped off the ice and into the dressing room with 4:47 remaining in the second period after he got tangled up with Buffalo defenseman Erik Johnson and went down in an awkward heap at the end boards behind the Buffalo goal.

Replays showed that Kakko’s left skate turned to the outside as he started falling, and his knee twisted as his body fell on top of it. He appeared to scream in pain.

Laviolette didn’t have much of an update on Kakko’s status after the game, saying only that it was a lower-body injury and he will be evaluated and the team will “probably know more [Tuesday].”

“Right now, I’m just thinking of him and hoping all the best,’’ Mika Zibanejad said. “I didn’t really see the situation. I didn’t look at the replay. But I’m just hoping for all the best. He’s a good player. You don’t want to see anything happen to any of our players.’’

The Rangers were trailing 1-0 at the time of Kakko’s injury, and the Sabres’ Alex Tuch’s first of two goals with 26.4 seconds left in the period made it 2-0.

Zibanejad’s power play goal at 8:08 of the third period pulled the Rangers within 2-1. But Tuch scored his second with 4:29 left to restore the two-goal lead.

Buffalo then tacked on an empty-net goal by Casey Mittelstadt with 1:31 left and added another when Kyle Okposo scored with 6.7 seconds left.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 25 saves for Buffalo (10-10-2). Igor Shesterkin made 34 saves for the Rangers (15-4-1).

Assuming Kakko will be out a while, the Rangers currently have just 11 healthy forwards on the roster. Filip Chytil, who has missed the last 10 games with an upper-body injury that is presumed to be a concussion, has recently started skating but he hasn’t practiced with the team and wouldn’t be ready to come back by Wednesday, when the Rangers host the Red Wings.

The Blueshirts will likely will have to call up a forward from AHL Hartford. The most likely candidate is Jonny Brodzinski, who is currently leading not only Hartford, but the entire AHL in scoring, with 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in 16 games.

Brodzinski has already been recalled once this season; he played in the Nov. 4 shootout loss in Minnesota in the game after Chytil was injured.

More Rangers

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months