With trade winds swirling and their losses piling up, the Flyers will try to start a surge Tuesday that will carry them into the playoffs for a second straight season.

At least they get to host a Colorado team (17-40-3) that has the NHL's worst record.

Since winning their 10th straight game Dec. 14, however, the Flyers have won just nine of 29 (9-16-4) for 22 points. Colorado is the only NHL team with fewer points (14) in that 2 1/2-month span.

"It's not a position we're proud to be in," said goalie Steve Mason, who will start Tuesday for the first time in the last seven games, "but that's the reality right now. We understand what type of play is needed in order to get back into the playoff picture."

With 21 games left, the Flyers (28-26-7) are six points out of a playoff spot and running out of time. They have lost seven of their last nine games and are in danger of becoming the first team in NHL history to miss the playoffs during a season in which they had a 10-game winning streak.

"We know what's ahead of us," center Sean Couturier said after practice Monday in Voorhees. "We've just got to start winning games. We have to start scoring goals and stop chasing games."

"It's not impossible," Mason said of the Flyers' playoff quest.

The Flyers have outshot their last eight opponents but are just 2-6 in those games.

"Something has to change, for sure," Couturier said. "We have to create more scoring chances. We're shooting a lot of pucks, but a lot of pucks are from the outside. We have to find a way to bring those pucks inside and create some quality chances."

The trade deadline is Wednesday at 3 p.m.

"At this time of year, it's always nerve-wracking," said Couturier, who has just one goal in his last 17 games. "You don't really know what to expect. There are always surprises. It's part of the business, and we just want to get it over with."

Couturier said that "something has to happen" but added that "we believe in ourselves."

Mason, goalie Michal Neuvirth and defensemen Mark Streit and Michael Del Zotto are among the Flyers generating trade interest.

"I'm prepared for anything," Mason said, adding he wasn't worrying about something he can't control.

Streit, who is in the final year of his contract, said he hopes to remain with the Flyers and would like to play for them next season.

"It's certainly not easy; there's no other way to say it," he said of the trade rumors.

The Flyers have scored a total of eight goals in their last seven losses.

"Sometimes the effort can't just be good, it has to be great," Mason said. "We need guys to put the puck in the net. We need the defensemen to make the goaltenders' job easier. We need the goaltenders to stop the stoppable pucks and make some of the more difficult saves."

Coach Dave Hakstol met with the leadership group - Claude Giroux, Streit and Wayne Simmonds - and had a lengthy on-ice conversation with them during Monday's practice.

Giroux said the conversation centered around staying positive.

"Everybody's a little frustrated right now, and we can't be pointing fingers," Giroux said. "Everybody needs to be a little bit better. Everybody needs to give a little more."

That said, Giroux likes the Flyers' effort and the way it has had a territorial edge in recent games.

"We like our team. The locker room is great," he said. "It's hard for me to tell you guys we like our team when the results aren't there. But we like the way we play, and we like the way we play as a team, and I really think we can do great things."

They have 21 games to prove their captain is correct.


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