The Los Angeles Kings aren't getting the same type of notice as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings, but they quietly have the third-most wins in the NHL.
Southern California doesn't exactly strike many as the core of hockey, but fans are buying into an L.A. Kings team that is looking to make the playoffs for the second-straight season.
It's the first time they've been relevant since a guy named Wayne Gretzky played there.
While the Kings are playing exceptionally well, there's a lot of hockey yet to be played. Here are 10 areas in which they need to succeed in order to maintain their success...
Marco Sturm was traded to the Kings from Boston in a purely salary-cap motivated move for the Bruins.
He's not a superstar, but the 12-year veteran put up 22 goals last season and could be a key addition to the Kings.
As Anze Kopitar's linemate, Sturm should become a contributor.
Alexei Ponikarovsky is a proven 20-goal scorer, but he has struggled mightily this season.
He's only managed to get into 22 games, is currently injured and has just three goals and four assists.
If Ponikarovsky can get back on track, it would be a big help for the Kings.
L.A.'s success is primarily due to its defense, but the Kings have improved on the offensive end lately, rising to 11th in the NHL in scoring (2.9 goals per game).
The Kings have scored 30 goals in their last eight games and if they can keep up this pace, they could be unstoppable.
Led by stars Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson, the Kings have one of the best—if not the best—defenses in the league.
They allow the second-fewest goals in the NHL, at just 2.2 per game.
While Anze Kopitar still leads the team in points, Dustin Brown is pacing the Kings in goals.
Brown has recorded a point in 10 of his last 12 games, with seven multi-point contests.
He has 16 goals and 17 assists in the Kings' 35 games, putting him on pace for a 37-40-77 season.
Despite his 24 points, a great mark for a defenseman, Jack Johnson hasn't been as solid on the defensive end.
A career minus-57 player entering the year, Johnson is having the best plus-minus season of his young career.
He's still at just plus-one, though.
Since November 13, he's plus-seven and is showing signs of his limitless potential.
If he ever puts it all together, watch out.
The Kings have the fourth-ranked penalty-killing unit in the NHL, preventing goals on 86 percent of opponents' opportunities.
Not convinced of their greatness?
How about this: the Blackhawks, Canucks and Lightning—the NHL's top-three power players— are a combined one-for-19 on the man advantage.
How's that for dominant?
The Kings are just 17th in the NHL on the power play, scoring on 16.8 percent of their opportunities.
That number was much worse earlier in the season and L.A. has scored at least one power-play goal in eight of its last 10 games.
The Kings need to keep doing what they're doing with the man-advantage.
The main reason for the Kings' success has been Jonathan Quick's outstanding play.
He's quieted all rumors of Jonathan Bernier taking over his starting job, with a 1.86 GAA (second in the NHL) and .932 save percentage (third in the NHL).
If it wasn't for Tim Thomas's eye-popping stats, Quick would be at the top of the Vezina discussion right now.
After a scorching 12-3-0 start to the season, the Kings went seven games without a win in regulation, falling to 13-10-0.
They've been on an 8-2-1 tear ever since and have improved to 20-12-1 on the year.
Whatever it is they're doing on this streak, which includes two wins over NHL points leader Detroit, the Kings need to keep doing it.
Matt Rudnitsky is a student at the University of Michigan and a Featured Columnist/writing intern at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Mattrud