OTTAWA -- Richard Panik scored a power-play goal with 3:01 remaining and Scott Darling made 33 saves to help the Chicago Blackhawks to a 2-1 win against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday.
Duncan Keith also scored for the Blackhawks (45-20-5), who have won three in a row and moved three points ahead of the Minnesota Wild for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference. Minnesota lost 3-1 at the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.
Panik scored his 18th goal of the season 44 seconds after the Senators killed off a 5-on-3 disadvantage. The Blackhawks are 15-3-0 in their past 18 games.
WATCH: All Blackhawks vs. Senators highlights
"I think we've got confidence in our team game now, especially over the last month, month and a bit, the way we've progressed as a team, all four lines, all the six defensemen, both goaltenders," Keith said. "We just want to keep getting better. One thing we know in this group is never to get too high or too low. We're still a ways away from playoffs. We could win every game for the rest of the year up until playoffs, and it doesn't really matter. We like the way we've been playing and progressing here especially the last month or so."
Kyle Turris scored and Mike Condon made 26 saves for the Senators (39-23-7), who lost in regulation for the first time in eight games (6-1-1) and remained one point behind the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand.
Keith gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at 8:04 of the third period. His hard shot from the right circle was stopped by Condon, but the puck rolled over the line while Nick Schmaltz battled for position in front of the net. It was ruled a good goal following a video review.
Video: CHI@OTT: Keith's blasts finds the net to open scoring
Turris tied the game with a power-play goal at 11:23 when he one-timed Erik Karlsson's pass from the left circle past Darling to make it 1-1.
"This is a playoff game against the standard in the League," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "Once you're able to measure yourself toe-to-toe with the standard in the League, I think you can take a lot of positives from that.
"When they scored that goal [to take a 1-0 lead], a lot of character coming back, like we've seen our team do many times. I think we've got to take from that and move on. The next day is the next day."
Goal of the game
The Senators have been talking about getting more screens and traffic in front of the net, and Bobby Ryan executed it perfectly on Turris' power-play goal.
Video: CHI@OTT: Turris blasts PPG through traffic, ties game
Save of the game
After Senators forward Derick Brassard shot the puck off the side of his own net at 5:44 of the second period, it caromed into the slot to Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin, but Condon got his glove on Panarin's hard shot.
Video: CHI@OTT: Condon robs Panarin with a quick glove
Highlight of the game
Patrick Kane made a smart play behind the net when he found Panik in the left circle for the winning goal. Panik's quick shot went in over Condon's right shoulder.
Video: CHI@OTT: Kane sets up Panik for silky go-ahead PPG
Unsung performance of the game
Defenseman Johnny Oduya had six of the Blackhawks' 24 blocked shots in 18:21 of ice time.
They said it
"He's been terrific for us all year, real consistent, real big. They put a lot of bodies at the net, traffic and he made some key stops at key times and he looked big, had good control of rebounds. It's nice when your goalies, no matter who, or what stage of the game, they just keep getting the job done at important times, especially." -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on goaltender Scott Darling
"It's just sad it ends this way, because I don't think we deserved no points tonight. Clearly we deserved one at least." -- Senators coach Guy Boucher
"It was a well-fought game from both teams for the full 60 minutes. We traded some chances, but both goalies played well." -- Senators captain Erik Karlsson
Need to know
Blackhawks forward Artem Anisimov missed his first game because of a lower-body injury that is expected to keep him out 3-4 weeks. … Senators forward Mark Stone (lower body) missed his third straight game. He is week-to-week. … Senators goaltender Craig Anderson missed his second game in a row because of a lower-body injury. He skated Thursday and is expected back Tuesday against the Boston Bruins, according to Boucher.
Blackhawks: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, CITY, CSN-CH, NHL.TV)
Senators: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV)
Video: Panik's late PPG pushes Hawks past Sens, 2-1