A few weeks ago they were Rangers teammates, battling the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Now Derick Brassard and Brady Skjei will be on opposite sides of the ice when Canada and the United States face off Saturday in the semifinals of the 2016 World Championships in Russia.
Brassard scored his fourth goal of the tournament on Thursday, helping Canada to a convincing 6-0 victory over Sweden in quarterfinal action. Skjei logged 21 minutes of ice time as Team USA prevailed in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals, setting up a rematch from the first game of the preliminary round when Canada bested the U.S. 5-1 back on May 6.
Canada, which has won seven of eight games overall at the 2016 Worlds, already led 5-0 late in the third period when Brassard scored at 13:22. Brassard is tied for Team Canada's scoring lead with 10 points (4-6-10) and is tied for sixth among all players in the tournament. His six assists are tied for eighth most at the World Championships and his four goals are tied for 11th most. Brassard also owns a +10 plus/minus rating, tied for second best among all players.
Skjei was one of four U.S. defensemen to log 21 or more minutes on Thursday. Through eight games Skjei has scored one goal and is a minus one for the United States, whose win over Czech Republic was of the upset variety.
Also on Thursday Rangers prospect Nicklas Jensen was held off the score sheet as Denmark was eliminated from the medal round, losing to Finland 5-1. Still it was an extremely successful tournament for Jensen, whom the Rangers acquired in a mid-season trade with Vancouver this past winter. Jensen registered seven points (5-2-7) in eight games for the Danes, scoring a pair of game-winners and also twice on the power play.