Ryan Ellis strapped on skates Saturday morning and joined his team on the ice for the first time since the Flyers arrived in Canada.

The defenseman last practiced Oct. 25, before the Flyers boarded the plane for Edmonton. He last played Oct. 20 in the Flyers’ win over the Boston Bruins and has been “day-to-day” ever since.

Coach Alain Vigneault did not speak to the media following Saturday’s morning skate to confirm Ellis’ status.

However, when the defensemen skated in pairings, Justin Braun still skated with Ivan Provorov on the top line. Ellis made up the fourth pair with the 13th forward (a rotation between Patrick Brown and Nicolas Aube-Kubel). He also did not participate in power-play drills. Rasmus Ristolainen ran point instead.

Extinguishing Gaudreau’s flame

Within the first week of meeting his Boston College teammate Johnny Gaudreau, Brown realized Gaudreau was going to be good — really good.

A decade has passed since that first meeting, and now the two will be in opposite jerseys when Brown’s Flyers play Gaudreau and the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

Gaudreau, now the Flames’ first-line left wing, is still a threat that you always have to be aware of, Brown said. He respects Gaudreau’s game, ”but we’ve got to be ready to shut that down.”

Brown isn’t sure he himself will be out there against Gaudreau. Brown played in the Flyers’ 2-1 win Wednesday night in Vancouver, replacing Aube-Kubel on the fourth line. While Brown feels he clicked well with linemates Nate Thompson and Zack MacEwen, he said it will be a game-time decision if he or Aube-Kubel plays.

Brown has been with the team for only a few practices and one game because he spent his first few weeks with the team under COVID-19 protocols. Whether or not he plays Saturday night, his teammates feel he’ll be able to help the team.

“He’s really strong on the puck,” Scott Laughton said. “Good forechecker, good in the faceoff dot. Brings an element that I think we need on that line ... I’m sure he’ll get better as we go along.”

Stay out of the box

The best penalty-kill strategy is to not commit penalities.

Following Wednesday’s game, where the Flyers gave the Canucks six power plays, Vigneault said his team was well aware it needed to bring that number down.

Laughton reiterated that Saturday before the game, but he also said the penalty-kill units have demonstrated marked improvement from last year.

“It’s been big,” Laughton said. “I think just the amount of pressure we’ve been putting on teams up ice, I think trying to create turnovers and waste a little bit of time down in their zone. And then once it gets into our zone, I think we’re really keying in on being on the same page and making it hard for teams to, I don’t know, move it around the box.”

Breakaways

The Flyers met with Ryan Straschnitzki, a Humboldt survivor who rehabbed at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. Laughton, who remembers seeing Straschnitzki around Flyers Skate Zone during that time, said it was really cool for the team to get to talk to him. Straschinitzki was nice enough to sign a stick for Claude Giroux. ... Vigneault said he’s been pleased with the third line’s efforts and pace even if it wasn’t showing up in the box score. Laughton said he, Oskar Lindblom, and James van Riemsdyk have been communicating off the ice about how to convert their effort into points, and they hope to “pot one tonight.” ... The Flyers and the Flames will face off at 10 p.m. ET in the Scotiabank Saddledome.