For the first time since Jan. 29, Aaron Johnson thought he was going to play a real, live hockey game.

The Bruins reserve defenseman went to Providence on Monday on what he thought was a rehab assignment to get in a game or two in. He took part in the AHL Bruins’ morning skate and was ready to put his head on his pillow for his pregame nap, when he got the call to return to Boston.

As it turned out, Johnson, who signed a one-year, two-way deal in the summer, was not allowed a second rehab assignment, even with his consent, and he had already gone down to the farm once at the start of the season. Johnson looked at the bright side.

“At least it shows you how nice it is to have a farm team so close. There were a lot of situations where I could have been flying to the other side of the country, so it’s nice to have an easy drive,” said the 29-year-old Johnson, who is on his sixth NHL team.

Now all he can do is sit, watch and practice as hard and as well as he can until he’s called upon to play again. But Johnson seems to be handling the inactivity with as good an attitude as possible.

“It’s not too bad. It’s a great group of guys, we’re doing a lot of drills in game situations with (assistant coach Doug Houda),” said Johnson, who would have to clear waivers to be sent to Providence. “This is all part of my situation and it’s all kind of what I signed up for and I’m ready to do whatever it takes. If it means waiting a month until I get to play, it’s OK. It’s just up to me to stay ready.”

Dougie hits dry spell

Rookie Dougie Hamilton was without a point and minus-2 in the five games before last night’s contest. In the overtime loss to the Rangers, he was a minus-1 in 20:04.