Nashville forward Brandon Yip was claimed off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche by the Predators on January 19th. On Thursday night, Yip had an opportunity to play against his former team, scoring a goal at 6:58 into the first period to give Nashville a 2-1 lead.
“It is definitely nice to get a goal and contribute. It was a big goal for us. It gave us a lead,” Yip said.
Roman Josi’s shot from the blueline was tipped in front, past Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov. While there was a little bit of confusion as to who scored the goal, Yip or the rookie defenseman, the Vancouver native said it was not important who got credit.
“It didn’t really matter. I thought [Gabriel] Bourque made the great play to fight for the puck and [Roman] Josi threw it on net. Either way it was a big goal, so I was happy.”
Yip was scratched the last three games and says while competing well against his former team was important, he wants to prove his worth to the Predators when given the opportunity.
“First and foremost, I want to show the boys I can be a contributor to the team. That was my main focus, but it is in the back of your head that I used to play there for the Avalanche. I wanted to come out and prove them wrong,” he said, but also added “Anytime a team lets you go or trades you, there’s always a little salt in your mouth. It was a big win for the team and for me as well.”
Matt Halischuk also saw action Thursday night after being scratched the last two games. Craig Smith and Colin Wilson were Thursday night’s scratches, along with Brian McGrattan, Jack Hillen, and Kevin Klein.
The Predators allowed a goal just 1:14 into the first period when Jamie McGinn scored to give Colorado an early lead. Nashville battled back, scoring two unanswered goals, including the Yip tally, before the first period concluded.
“We wanted a better start, but we didn’t get the best start with the goal against. Right away, [Mike] Fisher threw it to the net and got one. I think it was the next shift we got the go-ahead goal,” Yip explained.
Fisher’s goal came at 2:54 into the opening frame. It was his 20th goal of the season.
Nashville added another goal to make it a 3-1 game when Sergei Kostitsyn picked up his 17th goal of the campaign, in the last minutes of the second period. Colorado made it interesting when they cut the Predators lead to one goal at 4:58 into the final frame on a goal from Paul Stastny.
Martin Erat added an empty-net goal to secure the win for Nashville.
Bridgestone Arena was sold out Thursday night for the 20th time this season. One more sellout and the Predators will break the record for attendance in a single season set in 1999-2000.
One other record broken at the game was that of wins by a Predators goaltender in one season set by Tomas Vokoun. Pekka Rinne’s win was his 37th of the season.
Nashville will practice Friday morning before hosting the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena.