The Islanders are low in star wattage, often an afterthought among fans and journalists who follow the NHL and not a reliable ratings draw for NBC.
That was the case when the playoffs began and even after their first-round victory over the Capitals, in part because they reached the conference semifinals as the lowest seed among the eight survivors.
But game by game, shift by suffocating shift, they are beginning to demand the attention of the hockey world.
They served their latest notice on Monday night, when they opened a second-round series against the Flyers with a 4-0 victory at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, securing Semyon Varlamov’s second shutout in a row.
Did we mention that the Islanders are the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference? The Flyers are the first.
Let’s be honest here: It is quite possible — dare we say probable? — that the two best teams in the conference are in the other end of the bracket, where the Bruins are facing the Lightning.
But no matter for the Islanders, who are beyond worrying about pedigree and television-friendly brand names. If they get through the Flyers, they will book an all-expenses-paid trip to Edmonton for the conference finals.
The Islanders know enough not to get ahead of themselves. The last time they won a game in the second round, they went up 1-0 on the Lightning in 2016. They then lost four games in a row and were through.
But based on what we have seen during their 8-2 start to the playoffs, that sort of collapse seems unlikely.
That is in part because they are getting contributions from so many directions. If their top two lines get cold, there always are two others to which they can turn.
And if their top defensemen don’t score, why not Andy Greene, a 37-year-old February pickup who opened the scoring with his first playoff goal since 2010. In that game, he beat Brian Boucher, NBC’s rinkside analyst on Monday.
“We’re a team from top to bottom,” Greene said later. “I know that sounds weird and cliché, but it’s just we need every single guy out there every single night, every game.”
The Islanders’ second goal came from Jean-Gabriel Pageau, another midseason pickup, on a play set up by his unflashy linemates, Ross Johnston and Leo Komarov.
Coach Barry Trotz’s personnel button-pushing so far suggests he can do no wrong. “I think it’s the players that get all the credit for that,” he said. “They prepare and they know if they get in the lineup they can contribute.”
Greene used to be the Devils’ captain, and provides added leadership. Anders Lee, the Islanders’ captain, scored the third goal and later said, “For us, that’s something we take pride in, every guy going out there and playing for one another. It’s a mindset and kind of a culture we have in our room.”
All of that stuff about balanced contributions certainly is true, but right now the Islanders look like much more than a mere feel-good underdog story.
They are schooling opposing offenses with a stifling defensive approach that continues to make it difficult to believe that Trotz took over the worst defensive team in the NHL only two summers ago.
Sometimes you almost have to feel bad for opponents when they fall behind and are left to peek around corners, helplessly in search of an opening, but . . . nothing.
The Flyers’ rapid unraveling in the third period would have stunned and silenced the home crowd if they were playing in front of one.
But the Islanders are working their magic in a fan-free bubble, and goal horns kept going off in Toronto even though the Isles technically were the road team.
It’s been that kind of summer for them so far.
Eleven wins to go.