Friday, July 19, 2024

NHL, NBA looking to make history as both Finals hold 3-0 series lead | CityNews Ottawa

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Both the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association are on the brink of a sports feat that doesn’t happen very often.

With the Florida Panthers defeating the Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 Thursday night, they hold a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Meanwhile, on the court, the Boston Celtics hold a 3-0 series lead on the Dallas Mavericks and are looking to secure their 17th NBA title and first since 2008 in Game 4 on Friday.

So when was the last time the NHL and NBA saw a series sweep in the Finals?

Well, for the NBA, it was in 2018, when the Golden State Warriors knocked off the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As for the NHL, one has to go a little further into the archives, as the last sweep in the Finals was in 1998 when the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Washington Capitals for the Stanley Cup.

Both leagues have seen a sweep in the same year before, with the last time being nearly 30 years ago.

Back in 1995, the New Jersey Devils defeated the Detroit Red Wings and the Houston Rockets defeated the Orlando Magic.

Both leagues nearly went back-to-back, as 1996 was the last time both leagues saw a 3-0 series lead in the Finals.

Mountain to climb

While the Panthers and Celtics are going for glory, they aren’t the only ones.

The Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Mavericks are still in their respective series, even if it’s a mountain they need to climb to get the series win.

It’s something that has only happened once before in either of the two major sports leagues.

That one time? April of 1942, when the Toronto Maple Leafs came back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Detroit Red Wings.

“You know history tells them it’s going to be near impossible,” said Avry Lewis-McDougall, an Edmonton Sports Journalist.

Back in World War 2, the Leafs lost 3-2 in Game 1, 4-2 in Game 2, and 5-2 in Game 3. While in Detroit for Game 4, they managed to snag a 4-3 victory. They carried that momentum back home for Game 5, when they defeated the Wings 9-3. They then posted a 3-0 win in Game 6 in Detroit, before hoisting Lord Stanley’s cup in Game 7, winning the last game 3-1.

However, for the Oilers, there’s one key problem they need to solve first — finding a way to beat Panthers netminder Sergei Bobrovsky.

“You can’t win a cup final game where you’re averaging less then three goals. It’s not gonna happen. Especially against Sergei Bobrovsky, who established himself as one of the best goalies in the modern era,” said Lewis-McDougall.

And if the Oilers hope to make history, repeating the feat of the 1942 Maple Leafs, they need to win Saturday night.

“All post-season long, they’ve talked about having their backs against the wall, the 2-9-1 start, being doubted, being down against Vancouver. So if any team has a chance of coming back against Florida, it could be this team,” said Lewis-McDougall.

As for the Mavericks, they are looking to be the first-ever team in the NBA to comeback from a 3-0 series deficit.

Throughout NBA history there have been 156 3-0 series leads, 14 of which have been in the Finals. All of them have been won by the team that wins the first three games.

-With files from Adam Ziccarelli

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