After a painful 1-0 loss to Columbus and flawless goalie Sergei Bobrovsky on Saturday, captain Claude Giroux said the Flyers needed to win their final eight games to have a legitimate playoff chance.

One down, seven to go.

The Flyers whipped the host Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-2, on Sunday and return to the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday against Ottawa, starting a three-game homestand.

For those who still believe the gargantuan task is even remotely possible, they point to the Flyers' 10-game winning streak earlier this season.

For those who are realists, they point to the fact that since that winning streak ended, the Flyers have gone 16-22-5 - and only Colorado has a worse record in that span.

The Flyers are six points out of the Eastern Conference's final wild-card spot with seven games left.

They would have to climb past four teams to get into the playoffs: Boston, the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay, and Carolina. According to Sports Club Stats, the Flyers have a 0.2 percent chance to sneak into the final wild-card spot - and that increased by 0.2 percent after their win over Pittsburgh.

"Obviously, we know where we are in the standings," right winger Jake Voracek said. "It's not going to be easy to make the playoffs; we all know that. [It depends] on the results of the other teams. We just try to play a little relaxed, a little loose."

Tuesday's game is against a 41-25-8 Ottawa team that has lost five of its last seven games and is coming off a 3-1 defeat at Montreal.

The Flyers (35-32-8) are also struggling for wins. They are returning from a 2-2 road trip - after a listless loss in Winnipeg, they were criticized by goalie Steve Mason and they responded, playing hard and showing desperation in their next three games - but they have been the definition of mediocrity in March.

"We could have won every game" on the trip, "even that one in Winnipeg, where we didn't quite have it," said left winger Jordan Weal, who is tied with Travis Konecny for the most goals (four) scored by a Flyer this month. "We had opportunities. We could have snuck out a couple more points. But you know what? We've got a big couple games this next week and we need to have them."

The Flyers are 6-6-1 this month and have not put together a two-game winning streak.

Special teams have crippled the team's playoff chances recently. In 13 March games, their power play is 3 for 44 (6.8 percent) and their penalty kill has been successful just 23 of 34 times (67.6 percent).

"We're getting our chances," said defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, the quarterback on the first power-play unit. "Just have to keep working hard at it."

With better special-teams performances, the Flyers would be within realistic striking distance of the playoffs - or perhaps even in a wild-card spot.

Breakaways

The Flyers and Senators have split a pair of 3-2 decisions this season, with the Senators winning in a shootout and the Flyers winning in overtime. In the Dec. 1 game in Ottawa, Giroux had two goals, including one in overtime. . . . Coach Dave Hakstol on the Flyers' last three games of the road trip: "Rock-solid team efforts, start to finish." . . . Sean Couturier has 11 points in the last 12 games and Giroux has 10 points in the last 11 games. . . . Harvard junior goalie Merrick Madsen, a Flyers prospect, has led the Crimson to a spot in the Frozen Four in Chicago. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound Madsen is looking like a sixth-round steal from the 2013 draft. . . . Ottawa's Bobby Ryan, the pride of Cherry Hill and a onetime 35-goal scorer, has just 12 goals and is in a nine-game drought.

@BroadStBull