Veteran forward Mike Knuble said there was a consensus in the Caps' dressing room after Game 1's 3-1 loss to the Rangers.
"I think we all agree that we have more to offer, more skill to show, more shots to [get to] the net. We've got better," he said.
After pulling out an upset against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Capitals need to elevate their game in Round 2 against the top-seeded Rangers.
"We all know that that's not good enough. It's the second round. It's not the first round," Knuble said. "Everyone talks about a little sigh of relief, because it's tough to get out of the first round, but they got out of it and we got out of it, which means we're all doing a bunch of things right. So the margin for error gets smaller and the intesity level has got to go up."
One area the Capitals would like to be better? Discipline. Alexander Semin alone took half of the team's four penalties and his two bone-headed stick infractions appears to have earned him a demotion to Washington's fourth line.
"In the first round against Boston, a big key for us was not taking penalties, not giving them those easy opportunities on the power-play," said Brooks Laich. "We took three penalties that were away from our net [on Saturday], 150 feet away from the net, that weren't preventing a goal. That puts you back on your heels."