After playing their first nine games this month in nine different cities, the Washington Capitals finally enjoy an encore tonight, battling the New York Islanders at 7:30 in the friendly surroundings of Capitol Centre.
The February nomads will play six of their seven at home, a scheduling arrangement that offers an excellent opportunity to cut down the distance between themselves and the Norris Division which stood at seven points before last night's game.
The Capitals host Pittsburgh Tuesday and Toronto Friday. After a short hop to Pittsburg Saturday, they will be home to the Kings March 1, Chicago March 3 and Atlanta March 6.
Washington has been a touch assignment for the potent Islanders this year. The earlier meeting at Capital Center ended in a tie, while two contests at Nassau Coliseum produced a 3-3 deadlock and a 2-1 victory for the Islanders. Although the Capitals have never beaten New York, those scores show tremendous improvement over the 0-8 record of previous years.
Goaltender Bernie Wolfe will probably be coach Tom McVie's selection tonight. Wolfe played the three earlier games against the Islanders and was outstanding in each, turning back 95 shots while allowing only seven goals.
Once again, the schedule appears favorable to the Capitals. The last meeting was sandwiched between two games involving the Islanders and their bitter rivals, the New York Rangers. Those teams met again last night, and the Islanders figure to be a bit flat for their invasion of Washington.
Guy Charron, who carried a club record 30-goal total into last night's game at St. Louis, netted two in that 3-3 tie at Nassau Coliseum Feb. 5. He was blanked in the other two games, and no Washington player has managed more than two points against the close-checking Islanders this season.
The Islanders stand second in the Patrick Division and seem likely to finish there once again. The Capitals' record against Patrick teams is 2.7-4, with the last triumph coming over the Rangers on Nov. 10.