Defenseman Kimmo Timonen thinks the fading Flyers need to win all four of their remaining games to earn an Eastern Conference playoff berth.

Sunday's game against visiting Detroit may be the toughest.

The Red Wings, 10-0-2 in their last 12 games, are rolling. The Flyers, losers of seven of their last eight, are swooning.

Detroit will give veteran goalie Chris Osgood his first start since Jan. 27 - and just his third start in the last 43 games. Osgood (7-8-4, 2.97 goals-against average; .890 save percentage) has had a subpar year as the backup to Jimmy Howard, a strong rookie-of-the-year candidate.

Since the Olympic break, the Red Wings are 13-2-2 - and no one is looking forward to facing them in the playoffs.

The Flyers, 6-9-3 since the Olympic stoppage, have slipped into the East's eighth and final playoff spot with 82 points. The Rangers, also with 82 points, are in ninth place by virtue of a tiebreaker. The Flyers and Rangers play a home-and-home series to close out the regular season.

On Friday, the Legion of Gloom outplayed Montreal but dropped a 1-0 decision because Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak was sensational, stopping all 35 shots.

"If we play with this high speed and tempo," Timonen said after that loss, "we're going to do well. But we have to make sure we do that the last four games."

After facing Detroit in Sunday's NBC-televised 12:30 p.m. contest, the Flyers will play in Toronto on Tuesday, travel to New York to meet the Rangers on Friday, then conclude the regular season next Sunday against the visiting Rangers.

Timonen sounded dumbfounded that the Flyers could miss the playoffs.

"If you look at the roster, we should be a playoff team," he said, "but it's been up and down . . . But we still have a chance. Only four games to go, and, hopefully, we can get that desperation level really high."

Even though the Flyers lost to Montreal, defenseman Chris Pronger called it a "blueprint" for the final four games.

"We need to play the exact same way to be successful," he said. "We got great goaltending, moved our feet well and created a lot of offense, and played physical. We didn't come up with the two points, but we need to use this exact template for each game that is coming up."

Brian Boucher (6-17-3), who has a 2.88 goals-against average and .896 save percentage, will be in goal Sunday for the Flyers. He rebounded from a shaky performance against the Islanders - Thursday's 6-4 loss - and played solidly against the Canadiens.

Coach Peter Laviolette was asked about the toughest challenge that the streaking Red Wings present.

"I've always tried to focus more on what we're doing," he said after Saturday's practice in Voorhees.

Laviolette said he wanted the "same type of game" that the Flyers played against Montreal. "We were really strong in the offensive zone, we pressed all pucks, and had lots of opportunities at the net," he said. "And we really limited Montreal's chances.'

Left winger Dan Carcillo, who sat out the last two games because of a league suspension, will return to the lineup. However, since James van Riemsdyk played so strongly on Mike Richards' line Friday, Carcillo is likely to return on a different line.

With Betts playing a key role, the Flyers have been successful on 28 of their last 30 penalty kills (93.3 percent), including the last 10.

Breakaways. Richards has two goals in his last 15 games. . . . The Flyers have beaten the Wings five straight games in Philadelphia since 1997. About 250 tickets remain for Sunday.