The gritty forward, who played on Thursday night for the Manitoba Moose and then was called up by Vancouver early Friday, scored one goal and set up another as the Canucks defeated the Oilers 5-2.
Rypien, whose tough luck with injuries has kept him from cracking the Canucks lineup on a regular basis, provided some lift for a team that badly needed it after Wednesday’s embarrassing 8-2 loss to Philadelphia.
Playing on a fourth line with Alex Burrows and Jeff Cowan, Rypien led an energy unit that made the difference in Edmonton.
After Henrik Sedin had opened the scoring at 10:27, Rypien made it 2-0 less than three minutes later. The 23-year old centre from Coleman, Alberta capped off a tremendous shift for he and linemates Cowan and Burrows. The trio kept the Oilers pinned deep in their own end before Rypien crashed the net and banged a rebound past Edmonton goalie Mathieu Garon.
“[Cowan] and [Burrows] did a great job there cycling it, down on the forecheck,” said Rypien. “We just had puck possession there for awhile, moving the puck around, and got pucks to the net.”
After Edmonton cut the Vancouver lead to 2-1 and looked poised to tie it with an early second period power-play, Rypien took advantage of a bad pinch by Oiler Jarret Stoll and chipped the puck ahead to Burrows. In on a clean breakaway from his own blue-line, Burrows roofed a wrist-shot over Garon’s glove hand and chased the Edmonton goaltender from the game.
The shorthanded goal turned out to be the winner and gave a fragile Vancouver team some much-needed breathing room.
Rypien can surely expect to find himself in the lineup again Saturday night as the two teams wrap up their home-and-home series. And the opportunity to play and prove himself is all Rypien is asking for.
“The more I play, the better it’s going to help out my game,” said Rypien. “I just want to keep developing, just keep getting better every day and keep taking steps in the right direction.”
By registering his first multi-point game in the National Hockey League, Rypien has done just that.