I agree with devilsrule33, New York's 2012 team had plenty of heart too. Maybe more heart than this year's (but less skill). Your 2012 team never quit. Look at your roster now though, it's stacked.
Good money was paid, good deals were made and you have a team with Nash, Richards, Martin St Louis, McDonaugh, one of the league's best goaltenders, and fast kids who'll be hitting pay day next year. I know every star (Richards, Nash, etc.) seems to devalue in the eyes of Rangers fans as soon as NYR puts pen to paper and they play a bad game or bad month, but let's call a spade a spade, these were headline-grabbing signings at the time; the Rangers aren't some lunchpail blue collar underdog team. I don't think they're any less stacked than LA; on paper, LA may even have less superstars (in my opinion), but it's their system that reigns. Their system beat probably the most stacked team in the league and can probably beat anyone at this rate. What will win it for NY will be Lundqvist. Can he steal a series? Or steal a game or two, enough to frustrate the Kings/get in their heads? A Cup win starts and ends with him, no matter how stacked the team in the Finals is. LA's "team" and system is that good, and Lundqvist is the x-factor.
They're not as much lunch pail as 2012. When you change key players (Anisimov, Dubinsky, Prust, Callahan, Fedotenko, Gaborik) and replace them with a mix of speed, skill and grit (Nash, St. Louis, Zuccarello, Brassard, Pouliot, Moore, Dorsett, Carcillo), it provides better balance. It took a change in philosophy to reach this point. No player has more than 13 points. They've gotten large contributions from Moore and Boyle. In 2012, they were victimized by the Devils 4th line (Carter-Gionta-Bernier).
Comparing talent is interesting. The Kings' best are clearly better. Any GM would take Kopitar, Carter and Doughty. LA entered the tournament as the lowest scoring team. They are the highest scoring headed into tomorrow. Gaborik has flourished and Carter is having a huge postseason. Kopitar leads everyone in scoring. Doughty has dominated. Williams is a big game performer. When you can get great production out of Pearson and Toffoli, it makes you that much better. Voynov and Muzzin are underrated on the back end. Brown had a big Game 7 and is a bigger version of Callahan.
I glanced at total hits on nhl.com. The Kings lead the postseason with 898. Also a product of playing the most games (21). That's an average of 42.8. The Rangers rank second with 587 over 20 (29.3). LA also is second in faceoff percentage (52.9). The Rangers are 12th (47.5). The Rangers have the most takeaways (137). LA is tied with Chicago for fourth with 92. The Kings have the most giveaways (250). The Rangers are second highest with 220.
"The greatest trick Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."
Hasan, Brian and I blog at New York Puck. Devils, Islanders, Rangers and Sabres.