It’s hard to imagine, given a shortened season that’s run as hot and cold as springtime in Washington, that the Capitals would get complacent. Yet that’s what happened Saturday night against Tampa Bay.

Teams that have long clinched playoff berths, or have been eliminated, can afford to quit for a period, or the remainder of the regular season. The Caps fall into neither category. So Saturday night’s performance, in which they blew a four-goal lead before winning in overtime, has caused some hand-wringing among the Red crowd.

“We got a little complacent,” Troy Brouwer admitted Monday. “We let off the gas a little bit. . . . Going into the third period we didn’t think we needed to score any more goals, just play a solid defensive game and we kind of lapsed on that a little bit and needed one more. We’ve got to take a lesson out of it but at the same point we’ve got to be happy with the two points.”

They certainly needed the two points. The Caps hold a four-point lead in the Southeast Division over Winnipeg with six games to go. Their final opponents are Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Boston and Ottawa, twice. Four of those teams are among the top six in the Eastern Conference. Then there are the Jets, who would like to knock Washington out of the top spot in the Southeast. It may be the weakest division in hockey, but the winner gets an automatic berth in the playoffs nonetheless.

The Caps have fed off their division foes. Fourteen of their 23 victories came against Southeast teams; they won just 25 percent of their games against the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference. But starting Tuesday night against the Leafs at Verizon Center, they’ll face some playoff-caliber competition — with a playoff berth on the line. So how do you prepare for that?