The Hartford Whalers, a picture of futility against the Boston Bruins during the regular season, aren't going to go so easily in the playoffs.

Kevin Dineen and Rob Brown scored second-period goals Wednesday night to lead the Whalers to a 5-2 upset over the Bruins in the first game of their Adams Division semifinal series.The Whalers, winless in their previous six games with Boston this season, shrewdly drew the Bruins into penalties that resulted in two power-play goals and their first win since March 16.

"We're excited," Brown said. "We were picked to lose four straight but right now they've got to take us to at least five."

Hartford has lost in the first round of the playoffs each of the past four years, including a seven-game loss to Boston last spring. But Wednesday night, the Whalers kept the play in Boston's zone and maintained consistent pressure on the Bruins' defensemen.

"We played hard, we played aggressive and we played smart," Whalers Coach Rick Ley said.

Bruins Coach Mike Milbury said the Whalers "outworked us, they finished their checks better, their defense was better, their goaltending was better. We were beaten tonight, no question."

Canadiens 7, Sabres 5

At Montreal, Russ Courtnall scored twice in a three-goal outburst within a 79-second span of the first period to lead the Canadiens to a 1-0 advantage in their series.

Rangers 2, Capitals 1

At New York, Jan Erixon and Bernie Nicholls scored second-period goals and Mike Richter recorded 28 saves to help the Rangers to a 1-0 series lead.

Devils 3, Penguins 1

At Pittsburgh, Peter Stastny and Laurie Boschman scored goals 50 seconds apart in the third period as New Jersey took a 1-0 series lead.