Forget about pats on the backs and sighs of relief. The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals have no time to revel in their first-round playoff victories before they meet up again.
The seventh-seeded Capitals knocked out the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins in Boston on Wednesday in Game 7 and then watched the top-seeded Rangers outlast the Ottawa Senators a night later in that decisive game to avoid elimination.
Now the former division rivals are matched up in the Eastern Conference semifinals, their third postseason meeting in four years. The Capitals won the previous two over the Rangers and coach John Tortorella, but New York insists those series have no bearing on this one.
''Irrelevant,'' Tortorella said after practice Friday on the eve of Saturday's matinee opener at Madison Square Garden. ''This is another series. We found a way to get through a tough series against Ottawa, Washington is the next one. It doesn't matter what has happened before.''
Tortorella, a S...