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Carolina upbeat despite facing a must-win game against Montreal AP Photo More Photos By JOHN KEKIS AP Sports Writer May 8, 2002 MONTREAL (AP) -- Trying to figure out who was trailing in the Stanley Cup playoff series between the Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes was impossible after practice on Wednesday. There wasn't a frown to be found.

For the record, the Hurricanes trail the Canadiens 2-1 in the best-of-seven matchup, which resumes Thursday at the Molson Centre.

The Canadiens gained the edge in the series on Donald Audette's goal early in overtime Tuesday night. The goal, which came off a faceoff deep in the Carolina zone, gave Montreal a 2-1 victory and spoiled another gritty effort by the Hurricanes.

''I don't think we're negative or frustrated,'' said Carolina defenseman Glen Wesley, whose bid for the game-winner in the final minute of regulation was smothered by goalie Jose Theodore. ''We played well enough to win.

We just have to shoot the puck and drive to the net, bear down in front and finish and not put too much pressure on ourselves if we get down a goal.'' After dropping the opener of the second-round series 2-0, the Canadiens have scored the first goal in their two victories behind the incredible play of Theodore. He has allowed just four goals on 118 shots in the three games.

''If we don't start scoring, we're going to start beating each other up,'' joked Carolina's Jeff O'Neill, who returned for Game 3 after a one-game suspension for hitting Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray from behind. ''Sometimes, when things aren't going your way you don't want to think about it.

''Winning six of nine periods doesn't amount to anything. You've still got to make good shots to beat him. We have to find a way. We...