The 5.77 average rating in the Washington market means that three of the network’s highest-rated Caps games have already happened during this series, which will almost certainly be the best-rated Caps playoff series in CSN history.

But for less numerical measures of fanaticism, let’s turn to my e-mail and Twitter inboxes, which have been filled with tales of notable passion in recent days.

Take Julie Oldach, for example, who e-mailed me after Game 2. Seems her enthusiastic celebration of a Verizon Center goal caused a bit of a problem with her engagement ring.

“We were clapping and high-fiving everyone around us and I felt a pinch on my finger and saw what happened,” she wrote me. “The ring broke at the joint; luckily the diamond didn’t come out.”

Oldach took off the diamond and put it in her wallet for safe keeping; she and her husband then went to New York to celebrate their 13th anniversary, sans engagement ring.

Incidentally, as she was leaving the arena after Game 2, she saw another lady in her section crawling on the floor, who explained that she, too, had lost the diamond from her ring.

I mean, this is some serious clapping, no? I tweeted the story, thinking readers might get a chuckle out of such good cheer, and it turns out that Julie is far from alone.

“The stone in my ring (not engagement ring) flew off from clapping so hard, back when we started our comeback in early March,” Lulu Hickey wrote me. “Foolish me just put it back together and kept wearing it. It flew off again during the last game against the ‘Canes, and then again in Game 1 in OT. Luckily, each time someone next to me has found it. I finally decided to not wear it anymore since I guess, from my jubilant elation, I can’t keep the stone in its place! Worth losing 100 stones to get to the Cup!”

Is this strictly a female dilemma? Hardly. One male reader, for example, claimed he broke a watch by fist-pumping too vigorously during a regular-season meeting with the Sabres.

Zach Crowe, unprompted, sent me a photo of his pickup truck, flying Caps flags with the Capitol Building in the background. I guess that’s what you do during the playoffs.

“I was watching the game in bed [Wednesday] night, stomach in knots like everyone else,” Austin wrote. “When Chimera tapped in the game winner, I shot up out of bed what felt like four or five feet and let out a scream as if I’d just won the Stanley Cup myself.”

When he came down....well, “bed destroyal” says it all. Turns out Austin is subletting the room for the semester, so it wasn’t actually his own bed that splintered. Its owner is studying abroad at the moment.

“Hey, at least I’ll have a cool story for him,” Austin concluded.