Alexander Semin's prodigious talent makes him one of the Washington Capitals' most effective players. It also is why he can be one of their most maddening.

The veteran winger can elicit praise and curses in the same breath. When he is engaged and playing well, the Capitals' fortunes often follow suit. When he is down, the team feels it, too.

The Capitals can rejoice, then. Their veteran left-winger seems to be heating up at playoff time. The latest evidence was his stunning power-play goal that lifted Washington to a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins at Verizon Center on Thursday night and evened this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at two games apiece.