Goalie Terry Sawchuk of the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings is generally considered to be the finest net-minder extant. In Detroit's drive for an unprecedented seventh straight league championship, Sawchuk is an indispensable factor.
Last week the Montreal Canadiens, a team experts give the best chance to depose the Red Wings, defeated Detroit 4 to 1 at the Montreal Forum and gave Sawchuk a rough and busy evening. Gordie Howe, the forward who is to the Red Wings offense what Sawchuk is to their defense, was hospitalized with a shoulder injury. Without Howe's potent stick to worry about, Les Canadiens could concentrate on slamming the puck past Sawchuk—and they did. During the evening Terry turned away 23 shots. But when Sawchuk is busiest, he is best. The 14,451 fans saw Terry twist and turn and do ballet splits. For a while Sawchuk was successful, but an unstoppable Montreal attack wore the Red Wings and their goalie down.
The victory put Montreal into first place and dropped Detroit to second. But it was early in hockey's long, long season, and soon, Red Wing fans knew, Gordie Howe would be back. Sawchuk, the fans knew too, would keep working in the nets, on busy nights and slow, handling the job of goalie as brilliantly as anyone else on ice.
SAWCHUK CLEARS HARD SHOT BLASTED AT HIM FROM LEFT IN THE FIRST MINUTES
November 15, 1954
BUT PUCK SLIDES FROM HIS STICK TOWARD BERT OLMSTEAD, FORWARD FOR MONTREAL
OLMSTEAD, MOVING CLOSER TO GOAL MOUTH, SETS HIMSELF TO DRIVE PUCK HOME
OLMSTEAD SHOOTS. SAWCHUK HOPS INTO ACTION AS BOB GOLDHAM SKATES TO AID
BUT TERRY NEEDS NO HELP. HE CLEANLY BLOCKS OLMSTEAD SHOT FOR SECOND SAVE
JOB DONE, GOALIE SAWCHUK LOSES HIS BALANCE AND SLIPS ACROBATICALLY TO ICE