When the Flyers returned to practice Friday following their big win over the Boston Bruins Wednesday night, their No. 1 star of the game was not on the ice with them.
Cam Atkinson scored two goals and had four shots on goal, two hits and one blocked shot against the Bruins. On his second goal, he fell and was slammed into the boards. He was walking gingerly after the game and did not skate Friday.
“In Cam’s case, it’s a maintenance day,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “I have good confidence that he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow.”
“In Ryan [Ellis’] case, I don’t have that same confidence,” Vigneault said. “He’s had some bumps and we might not be able to use him tomorrow. So I’ll have a better idea tomorrow.”
Ellis is another newcomer who has already made a big impact. He blocked one shot and made one hit against the Bruins. He also took maintenance days ahead of the Flyers season opener. Vigneault said he is not sure if Ellis is dealing with the same injury. He doesn’t expect Ellis to be out long-term, though.
Defenseman Cooper Zech, who has been recovering from an upper-body injury, skated with the team with Ellis out. Rather than slotting into Ellis’ spot on the top pair, Zech skated with Keith Yandle on the third pair. Justin Braun, who typically skates with Yandle, skated with Ivan Provorov on the top pair.
Rather than Zech, Nick Seeler will play with the Flyers if Ellis doesn’t return for Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers. Seeler has played in two of the three games so far. Braun will stay on the first pair.
Released from quarantine ... kind of
The Flyers claimed Patrick Brown off waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights on Oct. 11. On their first COVID-19 tests upon arriving in Philly, Brown and his wife and son tested positive. It was an “unlucky bounce,” Brown said, but he tried to make the most of it. He did yoga since he wasn’t able to exert himself much, and he watched the Flyers’ first three games to study their systems.
Brown joined the team Friday, a day earlier than anticipated and 11 days after the Flyers claimed him. He dressed in an orange practice jersey and sported No. 38 on his white helmet.
Two of Brown’s former Boston College teammates are on the Flyers. Brown slotted in for Atkinson, who he overlapped with for one year, on the second line and joked around with Kevin Hayes, who he spent all four years with at BC. Hayes is still recovering from abdominal surgery but skated with the team.
“Kevin is a joy to be around all the time,” Brown said. “He had me laughing on the first drill out there.”
Hayes and Travis Konecny helped Brown and Zack MacEwen, who is also new to the team, run some extra drills after practice.
Despite returning to practice, Brown will not be able to travel to Canada with the team Monday, Vigneault said. He has completed the required 10 days to return to play in the NHL, but he has not completed the 14 days Canada requires. Brown will have to join the team on his own once his 14 days are up.
The Flyers will play the Florida Panthers at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center (NBC Sports Philadelphia). It is the last home game before the Flyers head to western Canada. ... Carter Hart will start in goal.