DALLAS -- Roope Hintz will be a game-time decision for the Dallas Stars when they play the Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; CBC, TVAS, SN, TNT, truTV, MAX).

Hintz, Dallas' first-line center, has missed the past four games with an upper-body injury he sustained in Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Colorado Avalanche on May 13. He has six points (two goals, four assists) in 11 postseason games and is a key part of the Stars' top power-play unit and penalty kill.

“I’m optimistic he’s going to play on this trip, for sure,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said Sunday. “He was close (to returning for Game 2), skated at the morning skate. I think had it been a Game 7, he probably would have played.”

Dallas has gone 1-for-10 on the power play without Hintz in the lineup, including 0-for-5 in their Game 1 loss to the Oilers and 0-for-1 in their Game 2 win. The penalty kill is 3-for-3 without Hintz so far against the Oilers, who have the League’s best power play among the teams still playing in the postseason (34.9%).

“He’s not [Connor] McDavid, but what would they be if they took their first-line center out of their lineup? What would the [New York] Rangers be if you took [Mika] Zibanejad out of the lineup? It’s fairly obvious,” DeBoer said prior to Game 2. “He’s big, he skates. He’s a 200-foot player. He’s one of our best defensive players, one of our best penalty killers. He creates offense, he’s physical.”

What changes let the Stars take Game Two?

The loss of Hintz has also had an impact on forward Wyatt Johnston, who has moved up to the first line and has taken on more minutes on the penalty kill in his absence. Johnston, who leads the Stars with seven goals in the postseason, has not scored since Hintz exited the lineup.

“With Roope Hintz out of the lineup, we’ve asked [Johnston] to play more head-to-head against McDavid, [Colorado forward Nathan] MacKinnon. So, there’s more defensive heavy lifting with that,” DeBoer said. “I thought [in Game 2], we got him away from McDavid a little bit, put that on some other people and freed him up offensively, which is important. He’s important at both ends of the rink for us, but I think he has a little more freedom offensively when Roope’s in the lineup because that’s the matchup he gets. He doesn’t have to do that defensive heavy lifting that Roope usually does.”

Johnston had two assists in the Game 2 win, including making a play along the side boards to send linemate Jamie Benn in on a 2-on-1 rush for the opening goal 3:39 into the first period. He also rang the puck off the crossbar in the second period when the game was tied 1-1.