(Jack Dempsey/AP)

Ward hadn’t scored in 25 games before the tally against the Sharks; his most recent one came two months earlier on Nov. 5 against the Islanders. While the winger tries to make an impact in other ways, he knows that the Capitals need production from secondary scorers like him.

“You always want to contribute,” Ward said. “I’ve had a couple chances here and there that didn’t go in and you try to find other ways of helping the team when that’s happening….But you want to chip in, be that guy who helps be the difference in the game. We can’t rely on only a few guys to put pucks in the net.”

Troy Brouwer said something to the same effect yesterday as well: “We’ve had good secondary scoring all season long and that has to pick up again in general. We can’t expect [Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin] to carry the load. We need to make sure as a group that all the secondary players are contributing as well.”

Their sentiments rings even more true as the Capitals adjust to playing without Nicklas Backstrom, who is out with an apparent head injury after being elbowed to the jaw by Calgary’s Rene Bourque. It’s unclear at this time the full extent of the center’s injury.

In the 17 games since Coach Dale Hunter took over in Washington, the production from the big three – Alex Ovechkin, Backstrom and Alexander Semin – has been quite noticeable. Ovechkin has recorded nine goals and five assists in that span, Backstrom posted six goals and 11 assists in 16 contests and Semin has 5 goals and six assists in 14 games under Hunter.

A look at the statistics for the rest of the forwards, though, offers a different illustration – particularly in recent games. Here’s a list of the scoring by the Capitals’ forwards since Hunter took the reins.

PlayerGoalsAssistsCurrent streak
Alex Ovechkin95Seven-game point streak snapped in San Jose
Alexander Semin56At least a point in four straight games
Nicklas Backstrom611Five-game point streak before injury
Troy Brouwer52Point in each of the past two games
Brooks Laich44No goals in six games
Jason Chimera42No goals in six games
Jeff Halpern23No goals in 10 games
Mike Knuble11No goals in 13 games
Matt Hendricks10No goals in five games
Joel Ward13Goal vs. San Jose was first point in nine games
Marcus Johansson18Points in two of the last three games
Mathieu Perreault02 No goals since Oct. 22
Jay Beagle00Hasn’t recorded a point this season