Mike Liut will start his third game in a row tonight when the Washington Capitals play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Coach Terry Murray raised the possibility of Don Beaupre playing his first game, but Beaupre is not quite ready. He is still building his stamina after missing nearly all of training camp.

He also was hit on the left ankle by a shot from Kevin Hatcher during yesterday's practice at Mount Vernon Recreation Center.

"It's like I hit a wall and, after that, I'm not much good," Beaupre said, referring to a Sunday workout when he defended himself against a bevy of shots in 45 minutes and then became fatigued.

"I'll give him another couple of days of practice," said Murray, whose team will play Winnipeg Friday and the Rangers Saturday, both at Capital Centre. Murray's Worries

Murray's concerns involve the number of goals his team has given up. The Capitals have allowed 11 goals in two games to teams that did not make the playoffs last season.

"In quite a few situations, it ends up being a gamble in the neutral zone or at the other blueline and we don't make the right decision," Murray said. "Defensemen are not reading when to jump up or when the play is over with and they must get back. In our end, there are a lot of bad clearing passes. On several of the goals, we had control and made a poor pass." . . .

Defenseman Neil Sheehy, who broke his left ankle Sept. 20, returned to town yesterday to have the cast taken off. While at home in International Falls, Minn., Sheehy was forced to sit around with the bum leg, but he did some of his sitting in a duck blind. . . .

The Capitals were 4-3 against the Rangers in the 1989-90 regular season, but just one for three at Madison Square Garden. They were two for three at the Garden during the Patrick Division finals.