They didn't wait long.
"It's a huge lift," said Carolina's Cam Ward, who stopped 32 shots. "You can either crumble after a play like that or come back and meet the challenge. We worked hard and were rewarded."
The Thrashers, who had won three straight, appeared to be in control after the first of two goals by Hossa.
Atlanta outshot Carolina 12-9 in the opening period and seemed to be playing with renewed confidence.
"Atlanta looked like they were on the attack," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "I thought it was great that when they scored the short-handed goal that we answered back right away. That, to me, was the turning point."
The Hurricanes, who lead the Southeast Division, have met most challenges this season, including making a statement after a 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday night.
"We all wanted to redeem ourselves after our last loss," Brind'Amour said.
Hossa's second goal about 5 minutes into the third period trimmed Carolina's lead to 4-3. Staal's rebound shot with only 1:36 left ended Atlanta's comeback hopes.
"We had a good start," Thrashers forward Eric Perrin said. "We played them well. ... We did a good job of putting the pressure back on them. We did a good job of fighting back."
Cory Stillman also scored for Carolina.
Pavelec stopped 34 shots but lost for the first time in four starts. Pavelec led the Thrashers to a three-game winning streak, allowing one goal in each of the last two victories over Washington and Florida.
Because the Thrashers were playing for the second straight night, coach Don Waddell considered starting veteran goalie Johan Hedberg but instead stuck with the hot rookie.
"You don't worry about who's in the net," Brind'Amour said. "If you make enough good shots, some of them are going to go in, regardless of who's in goal."
After an 0-6 start which cost coach Bob Hartley his job, the Thrashers are 7-4 with Waddell, the general manager, behind the bench.
The Hurricanes again made the most of their power play.
Carolina is second in the NHL, converting 25 percent of its power-play chances. Atlanta is last on the penalty kill, giving up goals on almost 29 percent of their short-handed situations.
Carolina scored on two straight power plays. Atlanta led 1-0 on a goal by Perrin 2:33 in before Brind'Amour answered in the final second of a power play late in the first period.
Atlanta opened the second-period scoring with a short-handed goal by Hossa, who dumped the puck into the net as Ward was sprawled on the ice defending a shot by Perrin.
Carolina took a 3-2 lead in the second period on Brind'Amour's second goal, this time at even strength. Stillman scored 2:58 into the third period to push the lead to 4-2.
Hossa's second goal, just over 2 minutes later, cut the lead to one goal.
Brind'Amour has points in 14 of 17 games, including each of the team's 10 wins. ... The short-handed goal was Atlanta's third of the season. ... Ray Whitney had two assists for Carolina, giving him points in nine straight games. ... Hossa posted his second straight game with two points. ... Ilya Kovalchuk had five shots on goal but was held scoreless for the first time in four games.