HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Rookie Jody Hull's power-play goal midway through the third period capped a four-goal flurry in a 5:43 span as the Hartford Whalers overcame a four-goal deficit to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 6-4 Thursday night.

Hull's goal, 28 seconds after Kevin Dineen scored to tie the game at 4-4, marked the first time in Hartford's 10-year NHL history the Whalers won a game after trailing by four goals.

Ray Ferraro, Dean Evason and Dave Tippett also scored for the Whalers, who were down 4-0 with less than two minutes remaining in the second period.

Dineen also added an insurance goal, his 27th of the season, into an empty net with 25 seconds remaining.

The Whalers snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the first time in six games against Montreal this season.

The Canadiens, losing for only the second time since Dec. 17, built a 4-0 lead in the second period on two goals by Mats Naslund and one each from Bobby Smith and Russ Courtnall.

Naslund gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead at 2:28 of the second period on a quick wrist shot from the slot on a setup by Smith.

Smith scored his 21st of the season but only his third in 23 games at 9:35 on a quick shot through a screen. Courtnall scored on a wrist shot from the right boards at 10:22 and Naslund capped the run at 13:01.

Tippett began the Whalers comeback at 18:39 of the second period. Ferrao made it 4-2 with his 20th of the season at 3:52 and Evason closed the gap to one goal at 6:51.

Montreal coach Pat Burns said his team lost its composure in the final period.

''We took some stupid penalties that we shouldn't have and that's the result of not concentrating,'' he said. ''We were just standing there and watched them go around us.

''It was one of those nights where everyone wanted to score goals and once we started doing that, we left ourselves wide open.''

The Whalers capitalized on consecutive Montreal penalties midway through the final period to take the lead. Brian Skrudland was called for holding at 8:05 and Dineen capitalized 62 seconds later. After the goal, Guy Carbonneau was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and the Whalers again converted, as Hull scored the game-winner.

Montreal defenseman Petr Svoboda protested Hull's goal and was given a minor for unsportsmanline conduct and a game misconduct.

''To play the way we did in the third period, we deserved to lose,'' said Smith. ''We lost the game mentally rather than being outplayed.''

Whalers coach Larry Pleau felt that his team secured the victory because of ''determination and desire.''

''The goal that got us going was the one by Tippett just before the end of the second period,'' Pleau said.

Whalers goaltender Mike Liut added, ''a game like this can be one that gives us momentum, especially to come back against the NHL's best team. We needed it.''