The Washington Capitals, with the best team in their three years in the National Hockey League, are on their way to their highest attendance at Capital Center.

The Capitals have average 10,509 fans for 26 home games, including Sunday's sellout for Philadelphia. That's a higher average than the Washington Bullets, who, despite a first-place record in the National Basketball Association's Central Division, have averaged 10,119 fans for their first 22 home dates, down slightly from the Bullets' record average of 10,752 last year.

The Capitals' average of 10,509 is 505 more than in their inaugural season, 1974-75, and nearly 1,000 more than last year's average attendance.

The Capitals, in fact, are one of the few teams in the NHL who have improved at the gate this year, despite the fact that they only rank 13th in an 18-team league.

The Capitals have sold many discount tickets this year, but it is impossible to determine their dollar value.

The Bullets, who as of Jan. 2 (the latest date for which figures were available) were 10th in the 22-team NBA with an average attendance of 11,171 for 15 games, did not do as well at the turnstiles in January as they did on the court, where they put together an eight-game winning streak.

Denver is the NBA attendance leader with an average crowd of 17,108, followed by Philadelphia's 16,356. NBA attendance is up for the season by 133 fans, as of Jan. 2. The 76ers, with Julius Irving and George McGinnis as the star attractions, are the league's top road draw. Of the 23 road games Philadelphia has played, 19 have been before sold-out arenas.