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It’s the Islanders and Hurricanes’ time now — as it should be

Bruins and Canadiens at The Forum, this isn’t, but that’s all right, too, because nothing says the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs quite like Islanders, Hurricanes and Brooklyn.

“The door is wide open,” Mat Barzal told The Post following Thursday’s practice. “You see big teams like Tampa and Calgary go down, now Washington and Pittsburgh are both out, but we’re still here.

“The further we go, the further we want to go. Winning the Stanley Cup, it’s what you play for.”

This tournament represents a recess from historical storylines. No Crosby-Ovechkin. No Ovechkin-Trotz. No Canadian team left standing. The Cup is there for the taking. Problem for the Islanders is that the Canes, rock candy now in the aftermath of Wednesday’s Game 7 double-overtime takeout of the Caps, want to grab it, too.

Just because their opponent doesn’t have the cachet of big-name and big-market clubs that have gone down in a heap doesn’t mean the Islanders will be in for a free ride when the second round commences against Carolina on Friday at Barclays. Fact is the Canes, after dispatching the defending champs, are extremely dangerous. They are playing with the same kind of house money John Spano once used to try and buy the Islanders.

“All these series, all these things are happening, and you notice it,” said Barzal, who dazzled against the Penguins in his first NHL playoff competition. “Upsets maybe become contagious if that’s possible.

“But we’re just going day by day; game by game. If you look ahead you get left behind.”

Lou Lamoriello could not have said it better himself.

Nine months ago, this would have been inconceivable. Lamoriello at the Islanders practice rink overseeing prep work for Round 2 at essentially the same time Kyle Dubas, his successor as general manager in Toronto, was trying to come up with answers at the Maple Leafs breakup day. The Islanders getting ready for Round 2 just as John

Tavares was cleaning out his locker.

Inconceivable nine months ago? How about nine weeks ago?

The Islanders finished with 103 points and fifth-overall in the league. They are not interlopers into this pentagon that features teams with the 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 17th best records in the NHL following this bracket-busting opening round.

“Nothing really surprised me and everything surprised me,” Barry Trotz said. “There’s just not as much separation in the league as you think there is.”

Everyone loves upsets until the absence of marquee names dilutes national interest in consequent matchups. These are the NHL’s elite eight? Really? The Islanders and Canes could drop the puck at six in the morning and the national networks still wouldn’t find time to televise it. This is one that hardly stokes the imagination.

Guess what?

So what.

The teams with the fanciest pedigrees and the biggest names, they’re home. The Islanders and Canes, they’re two of the eight teams left with a chance to win the Cup and they are not going to apologize for it.

“I think every player comes to training camp believing they have a chance to win the Cup, and if not, they probably shouldn’t be playing” Cal Clutterbuck said. “That doesn’t mean you have to talk about it, though. You don’t put the result in front of the journey.

“You go through the year and confront and respond to different situations. Everybody gets knocked down. It’s whether you keep getting back up that defines you.”

The Islanders remained pretty much upright all season. They barely had a glove laid on them by the Penguins, whom they never trailed for so much as one second in the third period of any of their four first-round matches. Recognizable names or not up and down the Carolina lineup, the Islanders surely will face some adversity in this series that doesn’t quite pop or resonate. They are surely no sure thing.

But they are deep, they are committed, they are disciplined and they are ready for the spotlight even if the spotlight might take some time getting around to them.

Islanders in six.

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