By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Hockey Writer
The eight playoff teams in the Eastern Conference have been set since before the All-Star break. They jockeyed for position the past several months with Florida and Carolina emerging as division winners. The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Panthers are favored to come out of the East and win the Stanley Cup. But that’s not going to be an easy task with Washington up first and either Tampa Bay or Toronto up in the second round for the winner of the Capitals-Panthers series. The Hurricanes face the Boston Bruins for the right to go up against the winner of the series between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins.