Toronto Maple Leafs

David Pastrnak predicts this Bruins rival to win Hart Trophy in 2019-20

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USA TODAY Sports

David Pastrnak predicts this Bruins rival to win Hart Trophy in 2019-20

Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak is coming off the best season of his NHL career, but he's not picking himself to win the Hart Trophy in the upcoming 2019-20 campaign.

No, he's predicting one of the Bruins' top rivals, Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, will take home the league's MVP award next season.

Pastrnak's teammates Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron could be contenders for the Hart Trophy next year as well, but his pick of Matthews is a good one.

The Leafs center tallied a career-high 73 points (36 goals, 37 assists) despite injury limiting him to just 68 games last season. Assuming the 21-year-old center plays close to a full 2019-20 season, it's quite possible he could win the MVP given his extraordinary scoring and playmaking talents. Matthews has scored 111 goals with 94 assists in 212 career games for Toronto.

Individual awards are nice to win, but the only thing Leafs fans care about is advancing past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Leafs have been eliminated in Game 7 of the first round by Pastrnak and the Bruins in each of last season years. In fact, three of Toronto's last four playoff appearances ended with a Game 7 first-round defeat to the B's at TD Garden in Boston.

Can Jake DeBrusk make a leap after quiet postseason?>>>

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John Tavares 'still bitter' about Maple Leafs' loss to Bruins in playoffs

John Tavares 'still bitter' about Maple Leafs' loss to Bruins in playoffs

Unlike a few of his Maple Leafs teammates, John Tavares hasn't gotten used to coming up just short vs. the Bruins in the playoffs.

Tavares' first season in Toronto came to an end in April after the Leafs fell to the B's in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round. The star center admitted to Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com on Friday he still hasn't recovered from blowing the series lead vs. Boston.

"I'm still bitter," Tavares told Zeisberger. "We were up 3-2 in that series. We thought we were in the driver's seat and we just didn't find a way to put the nail in the coffin … to really finish them off. It's something we have to learn from."

Tavares' frustration is understandable. The Maple Leafs acquired the 28-year-old last summer to help them get over the hump, only to finish their season with the same result: a first-round exist courtesy of the Bruins.

Fortunately for Tavares, the six years remaining on his $77 million contract give him plenty of time to get his revenge.

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Jake DeBrusk says he and his family got death threats from Toronto fans

Jake DeBrusk says he and his family got death threats from Toronto fans

Jake DeBrusk has been pretty quiet on social media lately, and he has an unfortunate reason why.

The Bruins winger told 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich" on Thursday morning he and his family members received death threats from Toronto fans during Boston's first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series with the Maple Leafs.

DeBrusk said the threats began around Game 3 in Toronto, after an eventful Game 2 in which DeBrusk's hit on Patrick Marleau inspired Toronto's Nazem Kadri to retaliate with a ruthless cross-check that earned Kadri a series-long suspension.

"I think the fact that happened in Game 2 and we were going into Toronto for Game 3 -- I was getting death threats consistently," DeBrusk said. "My family members were telling me that they were getting death threats, as well, so I just wanted to kind of slow it down, in a sense. So, I just didn't go on (social media)."

When asked if he reported any of the death threats, DeBrusk revealed the scope of the threats, some of which came via direct messages.

"There were too many, to be honest," DeBrusk said. "There were just too many things going on to (report) threats that were happening, whether it's comments or direct messages or other things.

"There were just too many. I couldn't really report all of them. I didn't report any of them, to be honest. There were so many."

DeBrusk isn't the first person to receive death threats from Toronto fans, as the wife of former Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer said she got similar threats from cyberbullies after the team's collapse against the Bruins in 2013.

The Bruins defeated the Leafs in seven games for the second consecutive year to advance to the second round against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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