Wayne Simmonds breaks wrist, out 6 weeks for North Division-leading Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds is expected to be sidelined six weeks with a broken wrist, head coach Sheldon Keefe announced Monday.

Simmonds sustained the injury after blocking a shot during the third period of the Maple Leafs’ 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. The teams will complete a three-game set in Toronto on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

Injured forward Joe Thornton participated on the second line during Monday’s game day skate, however he is not eligible to return to game action. Thornton, 41, is expected to be sidelined for at least two more weeks after sustaining a fractured rib last month.

Simmonds, 32, overcame a slow start by scoring all five of his goals this season in his past six games.

Toronto opened the scoring on Saturday at 4:42 of the first when its lethal power play, which has now scored in 11 of its 12 outings, went to work. Simmonds took a pass from Mitch Marner at the side of the net and, with the cross-ice option to Auston Matthews taken away by a defender, instead roofed his fourth of the season in off the bar.

Simmonds then hit two posts on the same shift as Vancouver, which didn’t register a shot attempt until Justin Bailey forced a save out of Andersen almost nine minutes in, struggled to keep up.

Simmonds added to the Canucks’ pain 1:48 later when he tipped home his fifth off point shot from rookie defenceman Mikko Lehtonen, who was inserted into the lineup with Travis Dermott (leg) out injured.

Drafted by Los Angeles in the second round in 2007, Simmonds split the 2019-20 campaign between New Jersey and Buffalo after being traded from the Devils to the Sabres on Feb. 24. In 68 games, the native of Scarborough, Ont., scored eight goals and 25 points.

In 921 NHL regular-season contests, he has 256 goals, 504 points and 1,147 penalty minutes with the Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Kings, Sabres, Devils and Maple Leafs.

Toronto is 7-0-1 over its last eight games and sits atop the North Division with 19 points, one better than the Montreal Canadiens.

WATCH | Week 3 roundup of the NHL’s North Division:

Auston Matthews potted his ninth and tenth goals of the season in Toronto’s 5-1 win over Vancouver. 0:56

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