An Oct. 6 Capital Centre date against the New York Islanders marks one of only three meetings with National Hockey League opposition in the Washington Capitals' modest eight-game exhibition schedule.

The Catholic Youth Organization will sponser the Islander contest, first Capital Center preseason competition for the Capitals since 1975.

Two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins complete the NHL phase of the exhibition schedule, complicated by the top teams' desire to play each other under lucrative circumstances.

"We'd like to get more games here and establish home-and-away setups." said Washington General Manager Max McNab. "The basic weakness is the fact that the top six clubs play each other home and away, and are contracted to do so for the next few years.

"We have to grow to their stature as far as the draw is concerned. We'll get to the point where we'll be an attraction.Right now, the lesser clubs have to play where they can, it places like Baton Rouge and Oklahoma City."

The Capitals will not venture that far, visiting instead London, Ontario; Portland, Maine; Springfield, Mass., and Quebec City.

Washington will play the World Hockey Association's Howe clan, the New England Whalers, at the Hershey training camp base Sept. 23 as part of a doubleheader. The preliminary is one of five rookie games to be played between young Capitals and other NHL newcomers, in this case the Islanders.

The rookie-game innovation guarantees every candidate a chance for action, something that was impossible under the previous limited exhibition calendar.

A ticket scale of $7, $5 and $2, well below regular-season rates, has been set for the game here.Four Capital Centre exhibitions, including two against Philadelphia and one with Montreal, averaged only 7,290 in 1974 and 1975, prompting abandonment of home ice during the previous two preseason campaigns.

The NHL schedule is still undergoing revision, but Washington is expected to open the regular season on the road either Oct. 11 or 12.