The home team clawed their way back from a 12-7 halftime deficit to outscore the Crusaders four tries to three and exact revenge for their 20 -12 defeat in May.
The win means the Hurricanes will now head to Canberra to play the Brumbies in next weekend's quarter final, while the Crusaders return to Christchurch for a potential match-up against the Highlanders.
The Hurricanes had been forced into major shakeup of their backline immediately before the game with flyhalf Beauden Barrett a late withdrawal due to illness, while Vince Aso was injured during the warmup.
Otere Black came off the bench to play flyhalf, Jordie Barrett moved from fullback to centre, Nehe Milner-Skudder switched to fullback from the wing, with Wes Goosen coming onto the right wing from the bench.
Converted centre Barrett had a strong night for the Hurricanes kicking a penalty, converting all four tries and crossing the line for his team as well.
The Crusaders looked in ominous early form with two quick tries to Seta Tamanivalu but the Canterbury side lost momentum as a penalty count saw the game swing back to the home team.
The Chiefs 28-10 win over a second-string Brumbies fifteen in Hamilton earlier in the day means they now travel to Capetown to take on the Stormers next week.
The Australian conference champions rested some of their biggest names for the game but will be back to full strength for the playoffs against the Hurricanes.
Damian McKenzie dominated the scoring for the Chiefs with a try and 13 points from the boot as the home side battled to a scrappy victory over the ACT Brumbies at Waikato Stadium.
The Brumbies' loss means Australian Super Rugby sides have lost all 25 matches against New Zealand opposition this season
However, it was an historic day for Japan's Sunwolves who upset the Auckland Blues 48-21 in Tokyo in their final match of the season.
Centre Timothy Lafaele scored a hat-trick of tries as the Sunwolves fought back from a 21-5 deficit to earn their first victory over a New Zealand side.
The match was played in sweltering conditions in the Japanese capital with temperatures reaching more than 40 degrees Celsius prior to kickoff.
While both sides were out of playoff contention, the Blues were full of confidence, having beaten the British and Irish Lions in their last competitive match last month.
The Sunwolves scored six tries in the second half - the most tries they have scored in a game in their short Super Rugby existence.
"You can't take anything for granted in this competition," said Blues coach Tana Umaga.
"They just wanted it more. That's all down to attitude.
"We lacked a bit of focus on our game and when you haven't got the attitude right we get what we got today."
Photo: PhotoSport Hurricane Ngani Laumape takes on the Crusaders' line.