wild gameday

9:30 P.M. at San jose • HP PAVILION • FSN, 100.3-FM

Preview: The game matches two of the NHL’s hottest teams. The Wild (21-12-2) has won eight of its past 10, while San Jose (18-11-6) has won five in a row since a 2-0 loss to the Wild on March 23. The Sharks have the third-best home record in the NHL, going 12-1-4.

Players to watch: Wild G Niklas Backstrom leads the NHL with 19 victories this season, while the Sharks’ Antti Niemi has 17, fourth in the league. Niemi is also among NHL leaders in goals-against average (2.12), save percentage (.924) and shutouts (three). … Wild C Mikko Koivu leads the team with 33 points and had 19 in March, the highest monthly total of his career.

Numbers: Backstrom has started 18 of the Wild’s past 20 games and is 16-4-1 since Feb. 9. He ended a team-record eight-game winning streak with Monday’s 4-1 loss to St. Louis. … C Joe Thornton leads the Sharks with 33 points, and he ranks fourth in the NHL with 27 assists.

Injuries: Wild C Matt Cullen (lower body) and G Josh Harding (symptoms related to multiple sclerosis) are out. Sharks C Tim Kennedy (undisclosed injury) is out; D Jason Demers (undisclosed injury) and G Thomas Greiss (sore neck) are listed as questionable.

RACHEL BLOUNT