Before Saturday night, Nashville’s Brandon Yip had only been in 3 fights in his professional career.
At 17:22 of the first period at Bridgestone Arena, with the Predators up 3-1, Yip and the San Jose Sharks’ Tommy Wingels dropped the gloves near Nashville’s bench.
“He was just jostling before the draw and asked me to go,” Yip said. “I said, ‘Alright.’”
Yip had already been involved in one fight in a Predators uniform when he fought Chicago’s Steve Montador on January 24. While he has not shown any fear of engaging in fisticuffs, he does not get involved in bouts as often as players such as Brian McGrattan or Jordin Tootoo. However, he required no incentive to throw down with Wingels on Saturday.
“We were up 3-1,” Yip said. “It was just kind of spur of the moment. I wasn’t really planning it.”
“It just kind of happened.”
“It’s hard to rewind when you’re in a fight like that,” Yip said. “I’ll go watch it on video. I think I threw a couple of hard ones off the start and then went a little off-balance and fell over at the end.”
For Yip, the fight was his to take instead of his to make. The Predators were leading at the time and if he underperformed, the momentum of the game could have shifted.
“I know they scored right off the start in the next period, but hopefully it gave us momentum and didn’t give them too much,” Yip said.
“It was (a) much better (start) tonight,” Yip added. “It was what we were talking about coming into the game. We’ve obviously struggled in the first period of the last few. We realized it was a key to our game tonight and obviously it worked out well.”
In the end, the Predators won the game 6-2, putting more separation between themselves and the Sharks, who currently sit in 7th position in the Western Conference. The Predators now sit in 5th place in the West with 79 points and are 11 points up on the 8th place Dallas Stars.
“It’s huge,” Yip said. “Coming down the stretch, every point is key and it’s a big 2 points. We’ve got a big back-to-back coming up Monday and Tuesday.”