Jussi Jaaskelainen saved two penalties in three minutes as 10-man Bolton earned a third Premiership away win.
Jaaskelainen has let in just four goals this season
Bolton had gone ahead through Ivan Campo's close-range 63rd minute header before the home side missed those two penalties in the last five minutes.
Jason Roberts won both penalties but Jaaskelainen saved Benni McCarthy's shot and again guessed correctly to stop the former Wigan striker's effort.
Kevin Nolan was then red carded for foul and abusive language.
Quinton Fortune gave away the first penalty for a clumsy tackle on Roberts before the Blackburn substitute was fouled by both Nicky Hunt and Gary Speed.
Blackburn will wonder how they came away from this game with nothing, given those two missed penalties allied to a first-half incident when they thought they had scored.
Blackburn defender Zurab Khizanishvili claimed the ball had crossed the line after his header ricocheted off Jaaskelainen but play was waved on.
This was Bolton's fourth consecutive Premiership victory and Sam Allardyce's side stay in third place, two points behind Manchester United and Chelsea.
Bolton have the best defensive record in the Premiership this season - they have conceded only four goals - and, given Jaaskelainen's display, it is not hard to see why.
Having played in the Uefa Cup on Thursday, Blackburn had had less time to prepare for this match than Bolton but there was little sign of any European hangover.
Unfortunately for Blackburn, they found themselves up against a goalkeeper on the top of his game.
Jaaskelainen got off to a positive start, saving free-kicks from Robbie Savage and Morten Gamst Pedersen.
The Finn then tipped over Tugay's long-range shot and got down quickly to save from David Bentley, who had been released by Brett Emerton's clever pass.
If Jaaskelainen kept Blackburn at bay, at the other end Nicolas Anelka worked hard in leading the Bolton attack.
Anelka's career might best be described as nomadic but on the evidence of this display you can understand why so many managers are tempted to sign him.
Blessed with quick feet, acceleration and great vision, Anelka always threatened when he had the ball at his feet.
His vision allowed him to pick out El-Hadji Diouf but the Senegal forward delayed his shot, allowing Tugay to get in the tackle.
Anelka's pace and skill allowed him to deliver a cross from the right that led to Diouf stooping to get in a header that hit the upright.
Savage then slid in to block a shot from Anelka after the French striker nimbly dodged a couple of tackles.
Jaaskelainen continued to frustrate Blackburn after the interval.
The Bolton goalkeeper got down quickly after McCarthy turned sharply to get in a low shot.
Just past the hour, Campo rose to head Diouf's corner past Friedel as Bolton scored with a trademark set-piece.
Soon afterwards Nolan arrowed a volley goalward that was well saved by Friedel before that frantic final five minutes.
Blackburn boss Mark Hughes:
"Obviously with two penalties at the end you expect to take something out of the game.
"We feel Zurab Khizanishvili had a perfectly good goal not given, the ball was clearly over the line.
"But I think anyone who saw our performance today would feel we deserved something out of the game."
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce:
"We weren't at our best but we got away with it and it's our resilience and our strive to be successful that keeps us going.
"Jussi Jaaskelainen made a hero of himself today by saving two penalties and got us three crucial points.
"If you're talking about top keepers he's up there with Petr Cech and Edwin Van der Sar."
Blackburn: Friedel, Emerton, Ooijer, Khizanishvili, Neill, Bentley, Savage (Mokoena 74), Kerimoglu (Peter 81), Pedersen (Roberts 74), Nonda, McCarthy.
Subs Not Used: Brown, Jeffers.
Booked: Savage, Neill.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Faye (Fortune 46), Meite, Ben Haim, Nolan, Campo, Speed, Davies, Anelka (Giannakopoulos 90), Diouf (Vaz Te 81).
Subs Not Used: Walker, Tal.
Sent Off: Nolan (90).
Booked: Fortune, Nolan.
Goals: Campo 62.
Ref: M Dean (Wirral).