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Seeking a crack at final frontier // WINGS

Try to figure these Red Wings. Some nights they score six goals and look like the second coming of the 1980s Edmonton Oilers. Some nights they're lucky to get one or two and they look like the second coming of the 1990s Oilers.

For a team that prides itself on consistency and for the fans that expect it, this roller coaster has been difficult to stomach. And it makes you ill wondering which team will show up tonight against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 6 of the Western Conference final.

Will it be the Wings who scored six goals in a Game 3 victory and five in winning Game 5? Or the Wings held to a total of four goals in Games 1, 2 and 4 _ all losses?

Or is it all luck?

"We had some breaks that we needed," Wings coach Scotty Bowman said of Monday night's Game 5, a 5-2 victory that made some think Detroit could come back from a 3-1 deficit in this series.

Indeed, Igor Larionov's goal that gave the Wings a 2-0 lead in the first period was a gift. It came after Martin Lapointe fanned on a shot in the slot and the puck went back to Vladimir Konstantinov, who missed wide from the top of the circle.

The puck bounced right to Larionov off the right post, and he buried it before Patrick Roy could get into position.

But, as the saying goes, you make your own breaks. The Wings did that, from the time Slava Kozlov opened the scoring by batting in a rebound of Doug Brown's shot for a 1-0 lead until Greg Johnson's goal made it 5-2 late in the second period.

The Wings drove the net, and when they got there, they found Roy left to fend for himself.

He couldn't.

"Last game, we got some good, hardworking goals," defenseman Paul Coffey said. " All our goals were right inside. (Kozlov) bats one out of the air, (Larionov's) in good position, Greg Johnson goes to the net, Doug Brown goes to the net.

"I think we were a little bit more determined to get there. Maybe on other nights, Greg Johnson's goal, Marty Lapointe might have gone down and took the shot, nobody might have been there. Greg took it upon himself and drove to the net. You do that, a lot of times good things happen."

But the Wings haven't always done that in this series. And if the Type B personality reappears, the Wings will be finished.

"It's what we do to ourselves," Coffey said. "Not taking anything away from them; they play great defensively. Just because they're going to keep clogging it up, you've still got to go, you've still got to find a way to get through there."

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