MONTREAL -- The numbers were the same, 14 and 15, but after so many seasons in the Washington Capitals' red, white and blue, Gaetan Duchesne and Alan Haworth resembled Halloween celebrators as they skated in the Quebec Nordiques' blue sweaters embellished with fleurs-de-lis.

Despite initial concern about venturing to another division, another country, another degree of hockey fanaticism, they were cheered by the one thing that makes a hockey trade endurable -- a winning team. The Nordiques, after thumping Montreal here Monday night, are the only 3-0 team in the NHL.

"It's nice to be 3-0," Duchesne said. "That's never happened to me before. It's a big change -- a new team, new teammates, new linemates -- but the winning helps."

Like Duchesne, Haworth speaks fluent French, which helped ease the transition. Haworth also has been blessed by success on the ice, as the center for sniper Michel Goulet.

In his first home game, Haworth scored the Nordiques' opening goal in a 6-5 victory over Boston. Monday, his fine pass as he was being wrestled to the ice set up Goulet for the game-winner here.

"It's hard to get used to a new club, but we're skating well and getting our timing down," Haworth said. "It's great playing with Goulet. Can that guy put the puck in the net? I wondered how a guy scored 50 goals every year and now I know. The shots go in off everything -- pads, sticks -- it's magic."

Even Goulet, a Nordique all his nine NHL seasons, was forced to cope with the June trade that sent Clint Malarchuk and Dale Hunter to Washington for Duchesne, Haworth and a first-round draft pick.

"It was pretty hard for me last summer when the trade was made," said Goulet, who scored three goals in less than five minutes here for a season total of six. "Dale Hunter wasn't just my center, he was a personal friend. But that's hockey. I have to try to do my best to help the Quebec Nordiques without him.

"Alan Haworth and I practice together a lot. We talk a lot on and off the ice. I know he's very good with the puck around the net and he always has his head up. The pass he gave me on the winning goal was right on my stick. All I had to do was shoot it."

Duchesne had a taste of playing with a star, too, as the left wing alongside Peter Stastny during the exhibition campaign. Only Stastny scored more than Duchesne's seven.

However, when Quebec dealt John Ogrodnick to the New York Rangers, it obtained Jeff Jackson. He was assigned to Stastny and Duchesne resumed his longtime checking role with Paul Gillis and Gord Donnelly.

"Every game we play is a tough checking game," Duchesne said. "We used to talk about the hitting in the Patrick Division, but these {Adams} games are tougher, night after night."

Haworth said initially he was stunned by the trade, engineered during the entry draft on June 13.

"I was on a fishing trip in northern Quebec," he recalled. "I came out of the woods about 10 o'clock and went to eat in a canteen. A buddy of mine had heard it on the radio and he told me. It came as a surprise to me, but it was really hard for Judy {his wife, a Washingtonian}."

"I was comfortable in Washington and I just had my best year," Duchesne said. "I was always nice to everybody and everybody was nice to me. But I have no choice."

Devils 3, Whalers 1: In East Rutherford, N.J., Claude Loiselle scored on a 90-foot shot and Pat Verbeek scored his club-record 100th career goal to lead New Jersey. The 0-4 start is Hartford's worst in franchise history.

In other games, Dino Ciccarelli, playing his first game after a three-game suspension, scored a goal and had an assist to lift Minnesota, at home, to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs and give Herb Brooks his first triumph as coach of the North Stars; Doug Wilson scored two goals to lead the Blackhawks past the St. Louis Blues, 5-3, in Chicago, and Joe Nieuwendyk scored twice as the Calgary Flames gained a 5-4 victory over the Oilers in Edmonton.