The Florida Panthers are up 3-0 on the Edmonton Oilers after a 4-3 win in Game 3 on Thursday night. That happened 24 hours after the Celtics beat the Mavericks in Dallas to go up 3-0 in their series as well.

It’s probably the worst combined NBA + NHL finals we’ve seen in a long time, reason #1 being that both series have been uncompetitive. Boston has won every game by seven or more points, and while Edmonton mounted a comeback in Game 3, they got shellacked 3-0 in Game 1 and 4-1 in Game 2. Sergei Bobrovsky has allowed four goals on 86 shots from one of the NHL’s most high-powered offenses, limiting Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Zach Hyman to a combined total of 0 goals and 3 assists. The Panthers are just suffocating the Oilers with their heavy defensive scheme and the skilled forwards can’t breathe. It’s a stylistic clash that’s turning this into a lopsided affair.

Add in the fact that the matchups haven’t been entirely compelling off the ice. Credit to the Florida Panthers, who are a wonderful team, but nobody cares. It’s one of the worst markets in hockey. The Edmonton angle was at least interesting since Canada hasn’t won the Cup in forever, and they’ve got the quote/unquote big name players, but there’s no storyline that pulls you in and keeps you there. It was a tough series for neutrals to get into.

It’s a little different in the NBA Finals perhaps, since there’s star power on both sides. You’ve got Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving. But the Celtics have been the favorite to win it all from the very beginning, and it’s pretty obvious now that the Mavericks overachieved as a five seed on their run to the Finals. Great year for them, just completely overmatched in this series.

For a brief exercise, I went back over the last 10 years of NBA and NHL finals, to see if there was anything less competitive and/or less compelling than what we’re watching right now:

  • 2023 – Golden Knights 4, Panthers 1  /  Nuggets 4, Heat 1
  • 2022 – Avalanche 4, Lightning 2  /  Warriors 4, Celtics 2
  • 2021 – Lightning 4, Canadiens 1  /  Bucks 4, Suns 2
  • 2020 – Lightning 4, Stars 2  /  Lakers 4, Heat 2
  • 2019 – Blues 4, Bruins 3  / Raptors 4, Warriors 2
  • 2018 – Caps 4, Golden Knights 1  / Warriors 4, Cavs 0
  • 2017 – Penguins 4, Predators 2  / Warriors 4, Cavs 1
  • 2016 – Penguins 4, Sharks 2  / Cavs 4, Warriors 3
  • 2015 – Blackhawks 4, Lightning 2  / Warriors 4, Cavs 2
  • 2014 – Kings 4, Rangers 1  / Spurs 4, Heat 1

2019 has to be the best of the bunch, right? That Blues and Bruins series went to 7 games and then Kawhi’s Raptors took out the Warriors, who, admittedly, were banged up. But after winning three of the last four, I didn’t mind seeing the Warriors finally get knocked off. And likewise, those early Cavs/Warriors series were good, before we got worn out on the matchup. But I’m not sure how much interest there was in watching the Penguins win two in a row against a couple of lesser teams.

Going back further, there was a series of four-straight sweeps in the Stanley Cup Final from 1995 to 1998, including the series that will not be mentioned. At the same time, Michael Jordan’s Bulls were rampaging through the NBA, so there was some overlap in Chicago taking out the Jazz and the Red Wings, Avalanche, and Devils sweeping their opponents to lift the Cup. By my research, it looks like the last time we had two sweeps the finals was back in ’95, when Hakeem’s Rockets swept the Magic and the Devils swept the Red Wings. If the Panthers and Celtics win their game 4s, it’ll be the first finals double sweep in almost 30 years.

A couple of other random clunkers:

  1. 2007 – Spurs sweep the Cavs in Lebron’s 1st Finals, Ducks hammer the Senators 4-1
  2. 2002 – Lakers sweep the Nets, Red Wings 4-1 over the Hurricanes
  3. 1989 – Pistons sweep the Lakers, Calgary 4-2 over Montreal in an all-Canada final

I don’t think a series needs to go 7 games to be interesting, or compelling, but we’re on the doorstep of two sweeps here. Edmonton has been a huge disappointment. The Mavs are cooked. We are looking at the worst combined NBA and NHL finals since Bill Clinton was in office.