The Crusaders are the only New Zealand rugby side to make the Super 14 semi-finals after they beat the ACT Brumbies 40-22 in Christchurch.
The Hurricanes bowed out of contention after losing 32-16 to the New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney.
The Crusaders, coming off three straight losses on the road, were at their clinical best in the do-or-die match, scoring five tries to seal a bonus point and defending ruthlessly to kill off the Brumbies' finals hopes.
Winger Zac Guildford was instrumental in the win, setting up two tries and scoring one himself a few minutes from time.
The Brumbies, who had worked their way back into semi-final contention with wins in their last two games, clawed back to 22-15 through a Ben Alexander try a few minutes after the break, but were denied victory in flanker George Smith's final match before retirement.
In an overnight result with no bearing on the semi-finals, the Sharks of South Africa beat the Western Force 27-22.