Neutral fans hoping for a lengthy series in the Stanley Cup Final and the NBA Finals have been sorely disappointed by the outcomes so far. After the Florida Panthers secured a Game 3 victory on Thursday night, both series are on the brink of being a clean sweep.

For the first time since 1996, the NHL and NBA championship series will enter Game 4 with a team leading 3-0, per Sportsnet Stats. The Chicago Bulls claimed the NBA championship in six games that year, while the Colorado Avalanche swept the Panthers.

The NBA Finals haven’t ended in a sweep since 2018, while the last Stanley Cup Final sweep came in 1998. The Boston Celtics will try to clinch their 18th NBA championship Friday night.

The Panthers held off a late rally from the Edmonton Oilers to pull within one win of their first Stanley Cup title. Florida lost last year's Stanley Cup Final to the Vegas Golden Knights and is trying to become the first NHL team to win a championship after losing the previous year since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008 & 2009.

Not only are both series potentially ending short, but the six games played haven’t particularly been close. The Panthers won Game 1 and 2 by three goals each and held a three-goal lead in the third period of Game 3.

The Celtics grabbed an 18-point victory in Game 1 of the NBA Finals before holding double-digit leads in the fourth quarter of Game 2 and 3. Boston led by as much as 21 in the fourth quarter of Game 3 before a furious Dallas Mavericks rally fell short.

If both series end in sweeps, they will be well deserved and few would argue that the Panthers and Celtics didn’t earn their respective championships.

Panthers dominating on both ends en route to Stanley Cup glory

Florida Panthers right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (10) celebrates with Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) after defatting Edmonton Oilers in game three of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place.
Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers were favored to win the Stanley Cup Final before the series began, so maybe it's not a surprise they're on the brink of winning the championship. However, the way they've neutralized the Oilers' potent offense has been otherworldly.

Only three teams scored more goals in the regular season than Edmonton, who netted 3.5 goals per game. The Oilers' 67 goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are more than any team this postseason. Considering that number was 63 before the Final began, it's remarkable how well the Panthers have played on both ends of the ice.

Florida's 3-0 win in Game 1 marked the first time Edmonton was shut out this postseason. A 4-1 win in Game 2 was only the third time the Oilers were held to one goal in the playoffs, one of the previous two being a 1-0 win in the first round.

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has stood on his head all series and is rightfully the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. His 32-save shutout in Game 1 set the tone for the series. Bobrovsky followed it with 18 saves in Game 2 and 32 in Game 3. The two goals he allowed in the third period of Game 3 ended a streak of 18 consecutive regulation periods without allowing multiple goals.

Bobrovsky isn’t the only Panther putting in a heroic effort this series. Captain Aleksander Barkov, whose status was cloudy for Game 3 after suffering an injury in Game 2, scored the eventual game-winning goal in the second period to give Florida a 4-1 lead. The Oilers pulled two back for a 4-3 final score.

The Panthers have four chances to secure the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. Only once before has a team blown a 3-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final. It could soon be celebration time in South Florida.