So he took it.
The Penguins' veteran backup goalie stopped 20 shots and was 16.5 seconds away from his second shutout of the season when he was ejected after fighting with Islanders net-minder Rick DiPietro in Pittsburgh's 3-0 win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.
"The guys didn't know I had that little mean streak in me," said Johnson, who has 14 career shutouts, but had never fought in the NHL. "It was something I've kind of wanted to do for a while. Maybe it's just a little bit of frustration about some things."
The blanking officially goes into the record books as a team shutout because No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury played the final 16.5 seconds.
"Johnny was sick," Fleury said. "He's a righty, first of all, and he goes in as a lefty. That was awesome. He was so calm, so relaxed. It was just boom! His expression never changed. It was just boom, and that was it."
"Early Show" co-anchor Jeff Glor told viewers about the fight:
Angered that DiPietro had swatted Penguins forward Matt Cooke with his blocker, Johnson skated all the way from his crease to the Islanders end of the ice. He dropped his gloves at the blue line before engaging with DiPietro.
Johnson sent DiPietro to the ice with a clean left just above his right eye.
"I didn't intend to hurt anyone or anything," Johnson said. "It was just a lucky punch."
DiPietro's face was visibly swollen with a welt after the game.
"It's a fight. Things happen," DiPietro said. "He's got long arms."
The fisticuffs got most of the attention after the game.
"I guess you don't see it that much in today's NHL, but obviously, back when assistant coaches and I played you saw it all the time," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "It was one of those things. There was some scuffling going on toward the end of the game in the corner and I guess (Johnson) thought he had to come down."