Colorado Avalanche rookie forward Borna Rendulic suffered a broken leg in Thursday night’s matchup with the Florida Panthers and is expected to miss at least eight weeks – setting his return date in March at the earliest.

“He has a fractured leg and will be out at least eight weeks,” coach Patrick Roy said. “I saw it happen in the first along the boards, I think the guy pushed his leg and he lost his edge. That’s what happened.”

Rendulic only played about two minutes on Thursday night before the injury, but he did manage to register a +1 plus/minus rating on Tyson Barrie’s early goal.

After being recalled for the second time this season, Rendulic became the first ever Croatian-born player to score a goal in the NHL with a tally against the Philadelphia Flyers on New Years Eve. The 22-year-old rookie has one goal and one assist in eleven games with Colorado this season.

The Avalanche do not intend to call anyone up from the Lake Erie Monsters to take Rendulic’s spot on the roster before Saturday’s matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Marc-Andre Cliche is expected to move back into the lineup on the fourth line after being healthy scratched for the win over the Panthers. After a productive outing on Thursday, the Avs plan to move Cody McLeod up to take Rendulic’s spot on the third line alongside John Mitchell and Dennis Everberg.

“This morning what we did is we played Cody McLeod on [the third] line and we put Cliche back in the lineup with [Maxime] Talbot and [Daniel] Briere,” said coach Roy. “We’re not going to call up anybody today.”

Coach Roy praised McLeod’s leadership, effort, and energy following Thursday’s game.

“He played really well last game, and he deserved to be up on that line,” coach Roy said. “He made a great play on the power play, screening the front of the net, and on five-on-five, I thought he had a lot of urgency – he was physical and that’s certainly something that could help our team.”

Matt Duchene, Erik Johnson, and Nick Holden took maintenance days and sat out of Friday’s practice in Tampa Bay, FL, but they will all be in the lineup on Saturday. Friday was Duchene’s 24th birthday.

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