When he did get the call, he got the job done.
Johnson scored in the ninth round of the shootout to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 victory over the Red Wings on Saturday night.
"I hadn’t done a shootout in a long time," Johnson said. "You’re half watching for entertainment and half watching for just in case it goes a long way."
Columbus stopped a four-game losing streak and halted Detroit’s run of 12 straight shootout victories.
On his winner, Johnson pulled the puck to his forehand and beat Jimmy Howard with a stick-side deke move.
"Howie was feeling it, he was really challenging, so I knew I was going to go down and deke," Johnson said.
Artemi Panarin scored for Columbus in the first period, and Andreas Athanasiou replied for the Red Wings in the third period to send the game to overtime.
There wouldn’t have been a shootout if not for a spectacular save by Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in OT. Detroit’s Anthony Mantha and Athanasiou broke in alone. Mantha slid the puck across to Athanasiou, who looked to have an open net, but Bobrovsky made a desperate lunge and got a piece of the puck.
"I just throw what I could and the puck hit my heel," Bobrovsky said. "It was good but you’re not going to make that every night."
The game was barely underway when the Blue Jackets grabbed the lead. The Wings got caught flat-footed when Darren Helm turned it over during a line change. David Savard chipped the puck past two Detroit defenders along the boards and it ended up on the stick of Oliver Bjorkstrand, whose quick feed to the front of the net was deflected in by Panarin at 1:07 for his second goal in the past 14 games.
The Wings tied it at 6:11 of the third period. Niklas Kronwall whipped a cross-ice pass to Athanasiou, who snapped a quick shot past Bobrovsky.
"He found me in the open spot and I had the open net," Athanasiou said. "It was a great look by Kronner."
Columbus forward Josh Anderson was awarded a penalty shot with 42 seconds left in the first period after being hooked by Mike Green on a breakaway. Anderson tried to beat Howard glove side but he reacted in time to make the save.
The Wings, who played 12 of their first 17 games on the road, fell to 2-3-1 in their new home at Little Caesars Arena.
"We wanted to make sure we didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. "We did with the first goal, so that’s something we’ve got to keep working on, but I thought overall we had some real good pushes."
NOTES: LW Justin Abdelkader (fractured cheekbone) missed the game for the Red Wings. Abdelkader suffered the injury in Thursday’s loss at Calgary and is scheduled to see a specialist on Monday. . Detroit D Danny DeKeyser (sprained ankle) missed his 15th consecutive game. Blue Jackets C Zac Dalpe (upper body injury) missed his third straight game. . LW Matt Calvert (upper body) and C Lukas Sedlak (ankle) are on injured reserve. … Linesman David Brisebois fell and hit his head on the ice 1:17 into the game. He left the ice under his own power and returned to the game at the 7:51 mark of the first.
Blue Jackets: Visit Montreal on Tuesday night for their first game this season in Canada.
Red Wings: Host Calgary on Wednesday night in the second of five straight games at home.