It's no secret that the Caps are dealing with a motivation problem. They have already won the Metropolitan Division, earned first place in the Eastern Conference and are one point away from clinching the Presidents' Trophy as the team with the best record in the NHL.
All this and there is still two weeks left to go in the season.
Once the Presidents' Trophy is wrapped up, the Caps could lose every game left on the schedule and still have home ice throughout the playoffs. The challenges facing head coach Barry Trotz are now very different than for other teams in the league who are jockeying for playoff position. Trotz has to figure out how to best utilize his lineup to make sure his players aren't overworked heading into the postseason while still keeping the team in rhythm. No one wants to enter the postseason on an extended losing streak.
CHECK OUT THIS WEEK'S NHL POWER RANKINGS HERE
If the Caps had trouble staying motivated over the past month, how will Trotz now motivate them over the next two weeks with essentially nothing left to play for?
For that, the team may have to look towards some individual milestones. The most likely example is that of Braden Holtby who, with 45 wins on the season, sits just three away from tying Martin Brodeur's record for most wins in a season. If there's one player who does not care about individual accolades, its Holtby, but the rest of the team certainly will want to do what they can for their star netminder.
With only eight games left in the season, perhaps the goal for the Caps will change from seeing how many wins the team can get to seeing how many wins the team can get for Holtby.
Did the Caps show enough over the past week to retake the top spot in the latest edition of the NHL Power Rankings? Find out here.
Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.
Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.
This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.
The Hart Trophy is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to their team. With the Caps currently struggling in almost every aspect of the game, consider this: Just where would they be without Alex Ovechkin?
Washington ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.05. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 36. He has scored an incredible 19-percent of his team's goals. No one on the Caps is within 20 goals of the Caps' captain.
That's not a typo. Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the team with 16 goals. No other team in the league has a larger separation between its top two scorers. In fact, only three teams have a difference that's in the double digits: Vancouver (11), San Jose (10) and New Jersey (10).
Ovechkin is almost singlehandedly propping up Washington as a top-ten offense. If you think about just where this offense would be without him, there's a pretty strong case to be made that Ovechkin is as valuable to his team this season as any other player in the league.
SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE
Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:
In contention for: Norris
Carlson is fifth among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With a blue line that has featured two rookies the majority of the season, an aging veteran in Brooks Orpik and that had to deal with an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.
In contention for: Hart
Few players, if any, are as important to their team's offensive production and therefore its success than Ovechkin has been this season.
Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!