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United States sticking with Quick against Russia

by Dan Rosen

SOCHI -- Dan Bylsma is banking on Jonathan Quick coming up big again for the United States on Saturday.

Instead of turning to Ryan Miller, the MVP of the men's Olympic hockey tournament four years ago, Bylsma said he is sticking with Quick for the big showdown against Russia at Bolshoy Ice Dome (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC) because he liked the focus the Los Angeles Kings goalie had Thursday in a 7-1 win against Slovakia despite the sparse amount of work he had to do.

Quick made 22 saves, but was only faced with a couple of flurries in front of him, most of which came after the Americans jumped out to a big lead in the second period.

Bylsma also confirmed Derek Stepan and Justin Faulk would be scratched for the second straight game.

"I thought there were periods of inactivity in that game and he had to stay sharp, stay focused, and it was followed by two or three big saves he had to make," Bylsma said of Quick. "I thought he played real well in the game and again in the next game he will."

Quick was, as he typically is, reserved about the opportunity he is getting here at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Bylsma has clearly pegged him as the No. 1 goalie by giving him the start against the Russians, but Quick was trying not to make too big of a deal about it.

"It's a start, so you're trying to help the team win a game," he said. "That's all it is."

Well, not really.

Quick at least admitted the stage he'll be on Saturday, starting against the Russians in Russia, will be similar to some of the big games he has played in back in North America, such as in 2012, when he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy after helping the Kings win the Stanley Cup.

"Obviously, I've been fortunate to be on some good teams in the past where we've played in some important, big games in other teams' arenas. You expect it to be similar to that," Quick said. "I'm sure there might be a little more emotions, but at the same time, it's a hockey game; it's played between the walls."

Bylsma is aware of what Miller did in the Vancouver Games four years ago, leading the Americans to the silver medal by posting a 1.35 goals-against average and .945 save percentage, but Quick's play heading into the tournament clinched him the No. 1 job.

"Jonathan Quick is a goalie who has guided his team to a Stanley Cup and was a huge factor, a guy in the past 12 games of the last month had a goals-against [average] just a shade over two and a [.915] save percentage, which are great numbers," Bylsma said. "He's a great goalie, was for us in Game 1, and we're going to need him to be in Game 2."

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