TORONTO, DEC. 28 -- Rod Langway made a surprise appearance in the Washington Capitals' lineup Saturday night, for 12 minutes of fairly routine duty.

Tonight, Langway made his presence known to a far greater extent. Seeing inordinate ice time in the absence of benched Larry Murphy, Langway scored the third-period goal that enabled the Capitals to battle the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-4 overtime tie.

Langway also assisted on the second-period score by Mike Gartner that brought the Capitals within striking distance, after Tom Fergus' second goal of the game left them facing a 4-2 deficit.

Langway's goal was his second of the season. After exchanging passes with Gartner, he beat Allan Bester from the top of the left wing circle with 14:29 left in regulation time.

"I'm not going to be a goal scorer, but we were near the end of a power play and Hatchie {Kevin Hatcher} had the puck," Langway said. "I called for it and I saw Mike going. He stopped inside the blue line and I followed up the play. Kelly Miller made a great screen and I aimed for the goalie's glove. There's no way he saw it."

There was no further scoring, although both teams came close. Washington had to kill off a penalty to Dale Hunter that extended into the first 1:41 of the five-minute overtime period, and goalie Clint Malarchuk made an outstanding stop on Russ Courtnall just as Hunter returned. Then Malarchuk made a sensational stick save on Ed Olczyk in the closing minute to preserve the tie.

Murphy, who had been struggling through most of December, was scratched from the lineup by Coach Bryan Murray. Murphy had played 184 consecutive games, fifth longest current streak in the NHL.

"I just felt Larry hadn't been playing as well as he has to play if we're going to be successful," Murray said. "I had to get some people's attention by sitting out a top player. We'll see, if he plays the next game, whether there are any results from him or the other guys."

Murphy agreed that the move was justified, saying, "I think it's important for the team to shape things up. We can't continue this way. No one likes to sit out, but I have to accept it."

Mike Richard and Yvon Corriveau moved into the lineup, fresh from Binghamton, with Lou Franceschetti and Ed Kastelic joining Murphy in the press box. Corriveau played a key role in Washington's second goal, knocking Greg Terrion off the puck to start the play that culminated with Scott Stevens whacking the puck out of Bester's glove and into the net.

"I like Mike Richard; he tried to do some things on the power play and he moved the puck pretty well," Murray said. "Yvon Corriveau had an assist and he got involved. With a few more games, we can evaluate them better."

The whole team had trouble getting started and the Maple Leafs unloaded seven shots in the first 2 minutes 42 seconds, with Fergus scoring on the seventh after he picked off an attempted clear by Malarchuk.

That came on a power play, the Maple Leafs' second success in 25 chances, and Michal Pivonka matched it with Washington's second extra-man goal in the last 30 opportunities.

Ed Olczyk put Toronto back in front on a three-on-one when Malarchuk, after blocking the shot with his chest, allowed it to trickle through. Courtnall made it 3-1 on a breakaway early in the second period when Langway and Hatcher became confused.

Play was so ragged in the second period that Murray took his timeout at 7:22 to settle things down. They did, for a while, and then the teams combined for three goals in 45 seconds.

Langway was on the ice at least half the time during the third period and overtime and said, "I didn't expect to play this much. I got caught on a couple of long shifts where I couldn't go right back out, but I felt a lot better than against Philly.

"I can't go a minute and 15 seconds at a time like before and if I take a couple of good hits, I'm more or less dead on the ice and I have to come off. But I'm sure glad to be back out there and to come back twice from a two-goal deficit ought to put this team back on track."

Toronto blitzed Washington goalie Clint Malarchuk from the start and scored on its seventh shot, at 2:42. Fergus connected on a power play, with Garry Galley off for interference. The penalty occurred during a strange sequence in which the Maple Leafs forced the play despite putting only four skaters out for the shift.

During the power play, Malarchuk stopped Dale Degray's shot from the right point and Vince Damphousse's rebound. Malarchuk then shoved the puck out to his right, but Fergus fired it back past him.

Washington 1 2 1 0 4 Toronto 2 2 0 0 4

FIRST PERIOD SCORING -- 1, Toronto, Fergus 8 (Damphousse, DeGray), 2:42 (pp). 2, Washington, Pivonka 3 (Galley, Malarchuk), 9:53 (pp). 3, Toronto, Olczyk 13 (Damphousse, Fergus), 11:09. PENALTIES -- Galley, Was (interference), 2:05; Iafrate, Tor (interference), 4:30; Courtnall, Tor (tripping), 8:01; Gould, Was (high-sticking), 11:44; Salming, Tor (hooking), 12:47; Laughlin, Was, double minor (high-sticking, roughing), 16:46; DeGray, Tor, double minor (high-sticking, roughing), 16:46.

SECOND PERIOD SCORING -- 4, Toronto, Courtnall 18 (Leeman), 3:50. 5, Washington, Stevens 4 (Corriveau, Christian), 18:13. 6, Toronto, Fergus 9 (Damphousse), 18:42. 7, Washington, Gartner 22 (Pivonka, Langway), 18:58. PENALTIES -- Toronto bench, served by Ihnacak (too many men on ice), 1:04; McKenna, Tor (holding), 9:31; Hunter, Was (unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:39.

THIRD PERIOD SCORING -- 8, Langway 2 (Gartner, Hatcher), 5:31. PENALTIES -- Laughlin, Was (high-sticking), 3:04; Leeman, Tor (high-sticking), 3:04; Olczyk, Tor (interference), 3:25; Laughlin, Was (holding), 7:00; Damphousse, Tor (hooking), 11:04; Hunter, Was (hooking), 19:41.


Shots on goal: Washington 12 8 10 3 33 Toronto 12 8 5 2 27

Power-play Opportunities: Washington, 1 of 7; Toronto, 1 of 5.

Goalies: Washington, Malarchuk (27 shots-23 saves). Toronto, Bester (33-29).

A -- 16,382.

Referee -- Dave Newell. Linesmen -- Mark Vines, John D'Amico.