The Washington Times - February 26, 2012, 11:51AM

TORONTO | Jeff Halpern hadn’t scored in 33 games. Joel Ward hadn’t scored in 22 games. Marcus Johansson hadn’t scored in 10 games. Jason Chimera hadn’t scored in eight games. Keith Aucoin hadn’t scored since Oct. 24, 2009.

All those Washington Capitals players broke droughts over the weekend, providing the kind of secondary scoring they’ve so desperately needed.


“It’s a lot of pressure on our top scorers all the time to score game in and game out, and they’re getting the best defensemen against them and stuff and the best checking line,” coach Dale Hunter said after the Caps’ 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. “Definitely it was a big boost for our team.”

For a stretch of seven games, only two Caps goals came from forwards not named Alex Ovechkin or Alexander Semin. In addition to Ovechkin and Semin staying on fire, this two-game streak featured goals by Johansson, Halpern, Ward, Chimera, Aucoin, and Mathieu Perreault.

“It’s always nice to score. It’s fun to see everyone score. It doesn’t really matter who scores as long as someone does, and we win the games,” Johansson said. “I don’t really care if I didn’t score tonight and we won anyways. That’s the most important thing. It’s always a good feeling to score and know that you helped the team win.”

The victory in Toronto was not as close as the score indicated, thanks in large part to the second-period goals by Aucoin and Halpern.

“Every line chipped in pretty much tonight and that’s what you’ve got to do. You can’t rely on Ovi and Semin to do it every night,” Aucoin said. “Other guys got to step up and guys did that tonight and it was the key to the win.”

Aucoin has spent most of the past 2½ years in the American Hockey League, lighting up the minors as a sure-fire future Hall of Famer. He fills up the stat sheet for the Hershey Bears but hadn’t scored in the first seven games with the Caps this season – or at all since 2009-10.

“It’s been about two years now, I think, since I last scored a goal,” Aucoin said with a smile. “It’s only been 10, 11 games, but it feels like forever, and it was nice to finally get one and help the team win.”