The irony was not lost on Hartford fans, who have, for years, seen Whalers traded to Pittsburgh, where they learned how to win.
It would figure that the Whalers would spoil Pittsburgh's bid for the best start in NHL history.
The Penguins were unbeaten in 13 games, then spent a miserable Saturday afternoon in Hartford losing, 4-2, and finished the day with a 12-1-1 record.
Good, but not as good as the 12-0-3 that Edmonton had in opening the 1984-85 season.
"If it's ironic that we lose against Hartford, with the way the things went the last few years, then let it be," said Pittsburgh's John Cullen, one of five former Whalers on the Penguins. "But we didn't play that well."
Hartford might have had something to do with that, said Robert Kron, who scored twice.
"It's a great feeling to beat one of the best teams in the league," he said. "But I think we have a good team, and we started showing it."
Washington 4, Quebec 2--The Nordiques missed an opportunity to pass Pittsburgh for the Eastern Conference lead and the best record in the NHL when Craig Berube and Keith Jones scored 32 seconds art in the third period at Landver, Md.
New York Islanders 3, New Jersey 2--Troy Loney and Patrick Flatley scored power-play goals 28 seconds apart in the second period for the Islanders at Uniondale, N.Y.
Toronto 3, St. Louis 1--Rookie defenseman Kenny Jonsson scored his first NHL goal as the Maple Leafs outshot the Blues, 42-23, to win in Toronto.
Calgary 3, Dallas 2--Theoren Fluery scored with 26 seconds to play in overtime in Calgary.