Brandon Yip could not have been hurt at a worse time. Matt Halischuk made the most of his time during a conditioning stint in the minors.
Now — just in time — both are back with the Nashville Predators and ready to return to the lineup. It is the start of a five-game road trip in which they will play in four different time zones over eight days.
Yip and Halischuk are expected to be in action Tuesday when Nashville plays at Dallas (7 p.m., Fox Sports-Tennessee). They will take the place of Patric Hornqvist and Colin Wilson who were placed on injured reserve.
“[Hornqvist and Wilson] won’t be starting out on this trip,” coach Barry Trotz said. “I would say that they will miss probably the first two games right now. … We’ll just sort of evaluate it day-by-day and if they’re able to join us later on they’ll join.”
Until then, Yip and Halischuk are ready to go.
Yip missed the previous three games with an upper body injury but was activated from injured reserve Monday. During the time he was out, the team claimed two other forwards, Bobby Butler and Zach Boychuk, off waivers and immediately put them in action.
“We just added a couple guys and that’s what makes a good team — everyone going in the same direction, especially when guys are down,” Yip said. “We’re just trying to get the team better. You know you have to bring it every night. You can’t take a day off. You can’t take a practice off. When you get into that menality as a team, we’re a really good team.”
Halischuk has been in and out of the lineup all season. He played eight straight games during February but then was a healthy scratch for the next two. He also sat out five of the season’s first 12 contests.
In two games with Milwaukee (AHL) over the weekend, he had two goals and an assist in a pair of victories.
“I’ve had people go down before [who] went down with the right attitude like Hali and lit it up and were exceptional down there and guys who went down with the wrong attitude and did absolutely nothing down there,” Trotz said. “The strength of Hali is that he’s a guy who will work. He has the right attitude. He just needs a little bit of traction for his game.
“Hopefully those two games in Milwaukee started something for him. He’s going to get an opportunity on this road trip.”
In 16 appearances for Nashville this season, Halischuk has just one assist and a minus-4 rating. Yip has five points (two goals, three assists) with an even rating in 19 games.
“Someone’s got to step up,” Trotz said. “We just need the group. The only way we’re going to be successful is how we always have been. We always do it as a group. It’s going to have to be a group effort.
“We need someone to step up and give us a goal when we need it or a power play to give us a goal we need it and the penalty kill to be strong.”