VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ Jim Sandlak scored the tying goal with 11:21 remaining in regulation time to give the Vancouver Canucks a 4-4 tie with the Washington Capitals Tuesday night.

Petri Skirko forced a turnover behind the Capitals' net and fed Sandlak, who beat Bob Mason with a high backhander for his sixth goal of the season as the Canucks rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits for the tie.

Mason preserved the deadlock with a brilliant save on Sandlak with four minutes left in the third.

Geoff Courtnall gave the Caps an early 1-0 lead with a quick shot to the top corner past Steve Weeks at 3:54 of the opening period.

Vancouver tied the score at 17:12 with a fluke goal. Tony Tanti controlled a bouncing puck in the right circle and his second attempt at a shot bounced high into the net off Brian Bradley, who was falling to the ice.

Kelly Miller scored a shorthanded goal at 12:02 of the second period after a givaway by Vancouver defenseman Robert Nordmark. Steve Leach gave the Capitals a two-goal lead at 13:45, capitalizing on a poor clear by Weeks.

Just 43 seconds later, Tanti got the Canucks back in the game when he banked a 40-foot wrist shot off the post and past Mason. But Leach's 45-foot slap shot deflected into the net off Weeks' glove 15 seconds later to restore the Capitals' two-goal lead.

Steve Bozek made it 4-3 lte in the period, stealing the puck from defenseman Calle Johansson at the blue line and beating Mason for a shorthanded goal.

Vancouver coach Bob McCammon was delighted to get the tie.

''The point is big for us because we've been struggling,'' McCammon said. ''Anything is an improvement.''

Vancouver was blanked in four power-play opportunities, and is now 0 for its last 15 with the man advantage.

''We don't have a power play right now - it's non-existent,'' McCammon said. ''We need a big gunner back there (on the point) to shoot the puck.''