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(Sports Network) - A year ago the Rangers were in the early stages of their first playoff season since 1997. However, things didn't start off all that well, as the team was a so-so 6-4-3 during the month of October.

It wasn't until a 10-3-0 November clip that the Rangers were propelled into a true contending position.

This season the Blueshirts are at 4-5-0 after the first nine games and sit right in the thick of an Atlantic Division that lacks a truly great club. Since winning the first two games of the campaign, New York has dropped five- of-seven.

On Wednesday the Rangers lost a 4-2 home contest to the Florida Panthers, as Jozef Stumpel scored a pair of goals to lift the visitors. Petr Prucha and Martin Straka scored for the Rangers, while goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 20 shots.

Lundqvist, who was a Vezina Trophy finalist last year, is not giving a repeat performance. In eight starts he is 4-4-0 with a 3.58 goals-against average and .878 save percentage. He has allowed four goals or more in five of his nine outings.

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