It’s a new year, and there’s no better time for the Bruins to be resolute.
The 2012 half of the schedule kicks off tonight against the Devils in New Jersey (7:30 p.m. NBCSN), launching the Bruins on arguably their toughest three-week stretch of the regular season.
The Bruins will play 12 games over 21 days before the All-Star break, including three back-to-backs.
This first back-to-back, which includes Thursday’s game against Calgary, poses its own special challenge: They are the final two games before the much-anticipated rematch with Vancouver Saturday afternoon at the Garden.
So after Saturday’s 4-2 New Year’s Eve loss in Dallas, which snapped a seven-game winning streak, the Bruins must return from their three-day break with a fresh outlook. Only one other time since Nov. 1 — a total of 25 games — have the Bruins lost two in a row.
“I think this whole week is about that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said Tuesday. “We’ve got [New Jersey], then we got Calgary the next day and, obviously, Vancouver at the end of the week. So it represents a real challenge for the whole team. It’s going to be a tough week for us, and it’ll be important to respond to it.”
The Bruins last faced the Devils on Nov. 15, two weeks into the start of their 10-game winning streak, a 4-3 victory at the Garden.
“Size-wise, they play a pretty heavy game,” Julien said.