The season has been anything but expected. It's not often that a team finds a way to simutaneously underperform and exceed its expectations.
Yet, that's exactly where the LA Kings were at the All-Star Break.
Jonathan Quick has played only 20 minutes this season, so of course Peter Budaj leads the NHL in shutouts.
Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli have both missed time due to injuries, which just meant that Jeff Carter would just turn the clock back eight years on his way to his second ever 40+ goal season.
Through all of that and more, the Kings have stayed right in the middle of the pack. No guarantees for a playoff spot, but they also have kept themselves ahead of other would-be contenders despite not having their entire roster available.
Keeping their heads above water, however, wouldn't be enough. The Kings needed to make a statement coming out of the All-Star break.
And they did just that. ...well, for the first three games at least.
5) Dustin Brown Deflection
The Kings 5-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche was a welcome sight for fans at STAPLES Center. And seeing someone score other than Jeff Carter was a shocking-yet-wonderful surprise.
That's just not even fair.
4) Alec Martinez Welcomes Back Tyler Toffoli
After missing 19 games, Toffoli returned to the Kings lineup just in time to face the Philadelphia Flyers. While he hasn't found the back of the net quite yet, it looks like teammates are happy to have him back.
This immediately becomes my second favorite Martinez and Toffoli highlight.
But this will always be No. 1.
3) Jordan Nolan Shows Off Some Moves
Nolan has played in 41 games this season.
He's scored four goals in those 41 games.
Nolan has played two games in Arizona this season.
He's scored three goals in those two games.
Just making an All-Star goalie look foolish.
2) Freight Train Brayden McNabb
You'd think one of the five goals score by the Kings in a shutout win would be the biggest highlight of the game.
McNabb would tell you that you are wrong.
1) Best Friends Forever
Jeff Carter signed a 12-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers so he could, presumably, finish his career there.
That didn't happen. And Kings fans couldn't be happier.
And this play by Anze Kopitar and Carter in overtime made those same Kings fans even happier.
We are all Kopitar, Carter and Drew Doughty celebrating that 1-0 win.