Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta is in the midst of maybe his worst season as a professional hockey player. In his third full season with the team, the veteran has struggled mightily, even being waived and assigned to the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves on Dec. 17.

But Raanta was solid in his first taste of NHL game action since Dec. 15; the 34-year-old made 18 saves in a 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at home on Thursday night. And he earned a vote of confidence from his head coach.

“Just good to get him back in there and get him hopefully feeling good about the way things went,” Rod Brind'Amour explained after the win, per The Associated Press.

“It’s a big win for him and hopefully it’s going to give him confidence,” echoed Andrei Svechnikov, who stole the show by scoring three times on Thursday night.

Svechnikov made Raanta's job easy

Hurricanes, Andrei Svechnikov, Andrei Svechnikov injury, Hurricanes injury, Don Waddell

Svechnikov provided the goal support for Raanta almost single-handedly, recording his fourth tally of the season just 1:35 into the opening frame. He would strike again to snap a tie game with 6:09 left in the third period, and completed his third career hat trick with an empty net goal late with under a minute left in regulation.

“He has got to get on the scoresheet for us to be the team we need to be,” Brind’Amour admitted about one of his best forwards, per AP.

Although it was Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho (four assists) who led the way for the Hurricanes, Raanta getting back in the crease and getting a win is huge for the club.

Obviously, it won't earn him the starting gig over Pyotr Kochetkov, who has been playing much better as of late. And when Frederik Andersen returns from injury, there could be a goaltending dilemma again in Raleigh.

But on Thursday night, he did what he needed to help his team win.

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And it was Carolina's second win in a row after a convincing 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators coming out of the Christmas break on Wednesday. With the extra four points, the Canes improve to 19-13-4 and third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The entire roster is clearly buying into Brind'Amour's game plan, which includes laying bodies on the line.

“They block a lot of shots,” Habs head coach Martin St. Louis observed. “It’s a shame we didn’t get more shots through, but we had good intentions.”

The Hurricanes will now head to Toronto to begin a three-game road trip against the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. The Canadiens will be in Sunrise to take on the Florida Panthers the same night.