The Hurricanes recovered from last week's loss to the Waratahs by beating the Rebels 15-25 in Melbourne at AAMI Park on Friday.
The victory was built on the Hurricanes defence and is their sixth of the Super Rugby season and second away from home.
The result provisionally moves the Hurricanes into fourth place overall and into second place in the New Zealand conference.
The Hurricanes now trail the Chiefs in the NZ Conference by four points which keeps the pressure on the defending champions.
The loss was the Rebels seventh from 10 matches this season and their third at home in Melbourne.
Next week the Rebels stay in Australia but travel to Brisbane where they will face Reds in a match which could go some way to deciding who finishes last in the Australian Conference.
The Hurricanes travel back to New Zealand where they will host local rivals the Highlanders at home in Wellington.
All Black playmaker Beauden Barrett's goalkicking helped the Hurricanes to the hard-fought victory.
The tenacious Rebels scored two tries to one, but fly-half Barrett's six penalties and a conversion for 20 points proved the difference to lift the Hurricanes into the top six early in the weekend round.
The Rebels paid for their ill-discipline, conceding 12 penalties, three of them when in possession, to give the Hurricanes a 12-10 half-time lead.
The Hurricanes looked to be heading for a comfortable victory when skipper and All Blacks centre Conrad Smith scored off a Barrett kick for a 25-10 lead in the 57th minute.
But Smith was yellow-carded by referee Matt O'Brien 10 minutes later for repeated infringements, leaving his team down a man in the final 10 minutes.
Former Hurricanes centre Tamati Ellison scored against his old team with eight minutes left as the Rebels took advantage of their numerical supremacy to storm the Kiwis' try-line.
But Wellington held on for their second win in two visits to Melbourne, leaving them second in the New Zealand conference ahead of five closing games against New Zealand rivals.
The Rebels scored their other try by fly-half Bryce Hegarty, who started and finished the attacking raid when he followed up Jason Woodward's kick to regather and score in the 28th minute.
Rebels skipper Scott Higginbotham said conceding penalties was "killing" his side.
"We're confident with our defence and our attack was a lot better than last week.
"It was good tonight when we got into their try-line zone. We'll keep working on it."
Final Score Melbourne Rebels 15 (10) Hurricanes 25 (12)
Tries - B.Hegarty, T.Ellison
Pen - J.Woodward
Con - J.Woodward
Tries - C.Smith
Pen - B.Barrett 6
Con - B.Barrett
Cards - C.Smith (67th min yellow)
Referee: Matt O'Brien
Assistant Ref 1: Steve Walsh
Assistant Ref 2: Ed Martin
TMO: Peter Marshall
1. Cruze Ah-Nau,2. Pat Leafa,3. Laurie Weeks,4. Cadeyrn Neville,5. Luke Jones,6. Colby Fainga'a,7. Scott Fuglistaller,8. Scott Higginbotham (c), 9. Luke Burgess,10. Bryce Hegarty,11. Tom English,12. Mitch Inman ,13. Tamati Ellison,14. Male Sau,15. Jason Woodward
Replacements : 16. Shota Horie,17. Max Lahiff,18. Paul Alo-Emilie,19. Hugh Pyle,20. Sean McMahon,21. Ben Meehan,22. Tom Kingston,23. Angus Roberts
1. Reggie Goodes , 2. Dane Coles , 3. Ben Franks , 4. Jeremy Thrush/Blade Thomson , 5. James Broadhurst , 6. Faifili Levave , 7. Ardie Savea , 8. Victor Vito , 9. TJ Perenara , 10. Beauden Barrett , 11. Julian Savea , 12. Alapati Leiua , 13. Conrad Smith (C) , 14. Cory Jane , 15. Andre Taylor
Replacements : 16. Motu Matu'u , 17. Chris Eves , 18. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen , 19. Blade Thomson/Brad Shields , 20. Jack Lam , 21. Billy Guyton , 22. Tim Bateman , 23. Matt Proctor