Head coach Guy Carbonneau made substantial changes to the Habs lineup before the game, pairing Saku Koivu with Guillaume Latendresse and Sergei Kostitsyn and moving Michael Ryder and Christopher Higgins to the third line, along with Maxim Lapierre at center.
The adjustments worked against the Lightning, as the Habs displayed solid cohesion all game long.
Lapierre opened the scoring in the first period. Latendresse followed with his 10th goal of the season, sending a juicy rebound past Tampa goaltender Johan Holmqvist.
Only 10 seconds into the second period, Alex Kovalev received a gift goal from Holmqvist, who looked awful on the play.
Tampa coach John Tortorella had seen enough at that point, and pulled Holmqvist in favor of the young Karri Ramo.
Andrei Markov and Andrei Kostitsyn both scored during the third period, giving the Habs a 5-0 lead and compelling Tortorella to reinsert Holmqvist.
There is no rest for Montreal, as the Habs play the Florida Panthers tonight.