On December 22, 1979, the Capitals traveled to Long Island in search of their first ever road victory over the Islanders. The Caps fought hard, but came home empty-handed on the short end of a 2-1 score.
The Capitals poured it on in the first, outshooting the Islanders 15-8. The two clubs swapped power play goals in the initial period; Clark Gillies scoring for New York at 3:50 and Ryan Walter tying the game at 15:25.
The Capitals had the shots advantage again in the second, outgunning the Isles 12-8. But Garry Howatt tallied for New York midway through the period, beating Caps netminder Rollie Boutin.
New York tightened up its defense thereafter, limiting the Capitals to just four third period shots on goal and hanging on for a 2-1 victory. Robert Picard led the Caps with seven shots on goal. Walter and Rolf Edberg had five apiece.
The Capitals would not gain their initial Nassau Coliseum win for another three years. On December 23, 1982, the Caps finally turned back the Isles at Nassau by a 5-1 score.