Caps fans aren’t on the ledge; they’ve already jumped, and are merely trying to drag others into a mournful descent with them. I mean, a reliable survey of diehard Caps fans would yield maybe one person voting “keep the status quo,” and only because he was too drunk on sorrow to understand the question.

For players, though, it’s never that easy. And thus, the captain, speaking to reporters on Wednesday night, when asked what this team was missing:

“I don’t think we miss something,”Ovechkin said. “We have unbelievable team, great locker room and great atmosphere. We just miss one opportunity to win one game and bounce back. But again, it happen and we’re gonna see what’s gonna happen.”

At which point Corey Masisak asked if Ovechkin about the prospect of breaking up the Caps.

“I hope not,” Ovechkin said. “Again, this locker room, it’s unbelievable. Everybody support each other. I hope this team’s gonna be [back] next year.”

One reporter also asked Ovechkin about the idea that Tampa Bay was hungrier than the Caps.

“I don’t think we’re not hungry,” he said. “We’re hungry and we want to win. But again, we want to win, they want to win, and somebody have to lose. Unfortunately, we are losing. I don’t know what to say right now.”

One other somewhat unexpected note of patience was voiced by Jason Arnott, the mid-season acquisition who had been so vocal about the Caps needing to change their mindset this year. He was asked by Brett Haber what the Caps need to break through in the postseason.

“They have everything that it takes to win, no question,” Arnott said. “It’s a tough thing to do. Playoffs can go one way or another. You’ve got to have luck, you’ve got to have bounces go your way. For me, I think this team has a great mix of guys that can win. Unfortunately it’s not gonna happen this year, but if they keep building on it and building on it and use this series as an experience to move forward next year, hopefully that’ll give ‘em the drive to do so.”