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June 21, 2013

If necessary, they can also be 'Big Fast Bruins'

BOSTON — From Eddie Shore to Bobby Orr to Raymond Bourque, the Boston Bruins have played a certain way — and been pretty successful at it.

The bruising and often belligerent style of the Original Six franchise was best embodied by the “Big Bad Bruins” of the 1960s and ‘70s, and it helped establish the way Boston teams are still expected to play. So when the Bruins lost 6-5 — 11 goals! — to Chicago in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday night, purists were aghast.

“I don’t think any coach likes the back-and-forth, exchanging chances,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said Thursday, a day after he said it just wasn’t “a Bruins type of game.” ‘‘Although it’s exciting for the fans, you’re looking for some zone time. ... People construed ‘Bruins hockey’ as being rough-and-tumble and not much else. But I talk about not playing our game.”

Brent Seabrook scored 9:51 into overtime to help the Blackhawks tie the best-of-seven series at two games apiece and regain the home-ice advantage. Game 5 is Saturday night in Chicago before the teams return to Boston for Game 6 on Monday.

Although it was the third overtime game of the finals, it looked nothing like the tightly contested and low-scoring first three games. The five second-period goals on Wednesday night were as many as the teams scored in Games 2 and 3 combined, and the 11 goals total were nearly as many as had been scored in the whole series to that point.

“I’m not going to sit here and complain about the high scoring,” Julien said, clarifying that he was more concerned about the poor defensive play that allowed it to happen. “It’s almost like saying we’re not allowed to score or we don’t want to score, and that’s not right. I’d like to win 5-1 instead of losing 6-5, but we want to score. It’s probably the way we gave some of the goals up.”

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