Forwards Tim Bergland and Rob Murray, who had clung to spots on the Washington Capitals' roster while drawing diminishing playing time, were sent to Baltimore of the American Hockey League yesterday.

Goalie Jim Hrivnak, who was already skating with the Skipjacks, will man their net for tonight's home game against Newmarket. Hrivnak has been out since he bruised a knee Nov. 24 at Pittsburgh.

Bergland and Murray spent much of the last two seasons in Baltimore, but both saw extensive duty with Washington in last year's playoffs and stayed with the Capitals this season. Bergland had one goal in 23 games, Murray none in 17.

"All you can be is disappointed, but it's part of the game," Bergland said. "Obviously, you want to play in the NHL. But the team is struggling and they have to make changes to get guys going."

Murray spent two weeks with Baltimore in December on a conditioning assignment, but had not be in uniform for five games since returning. Predictably, he was not happy to receive the news.

"I don't know how many times I've repeated the cliches about working hard," Murray said. "Hopefully this time I can get down there, work hard and get another team in the league to show some interest in me. I'm afraid I may have run the course in this organization.

"I think I have confidence and the ability to play in the NHL. Maybe some other team believes that too and will give me a shot. I'm going to play for myself now, do something for myself." Zezel Out Indefinitely

Center Peter Zezel was limping on his sore left ankle, which was banged up a second time Saturday in Quebec. He apparently has ligament damage and is not likely to play soon.

Rather than insert Bergland or Murray in Zezel's spot, Coach Terry Murray indicated that Alan May, a nominal right wing, would center a fourth line with Nick Kypreos and Steve Leach. Murray said that if it didn't work out, he might double shift either Mike Ridley or Dimitri Khristich.

"I played center in the American League," May said. "You play everything in the American League. I won't be doing that much different. I'll still go to the net and try to make things happen." . . .

The Capitals are 15-6-1 when they score first, 4-16-0 when they don't.