Despite the loss, the Hurricanes earned a point that lifted them into a tie with Buffalo for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta is in 11th place, five points out of a post-season berth.
Rob Schremp and Tobias Enstrom scored in the opening period to give Atlanta a 2-0 lead en route to its second straight win. Troy Bodie delivered a second-period goal for Carolina and Erik Cole tied it with 7:39 remaining in regulation.
Pavelec stopped 35 shots to get the victory. Cam Ward made 35 saves for Carolina.
The teams had met four previous times this season and the Hurricanes had won them all.