MONTREAL (AP) -- Jan Bulis had a clear view of his game-winning goal.
Bulis got his fifth of the season at 18:43 when he backhanded a shot off goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and just inside the left post. The goal came just moments after Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier tied it at 2.
"I was kind of still looking for it when I skated around the net behind Khabibulin, but it slowly got over the line and I was happy," Bulis said.
Lecavalier, held without a point in his five previous games, scored an unassisted goal off a faceoff at 16:10 of the third.
Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle was sent off a minute later for high-sticking Bulis, who scored on the ensuing power play.
"I don't think they should have called it," Lecavalier said. "I mean, he was in his way, anyway. It's not like he was on a breakaway and getting tripped, or something like that."
Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore made 25 saves for his 100th career victory.
"It feels good, but it's more the two points," Theodore said. "I was aware of it the last couple of games -- I saw it on TV -- but it's not something I was really looking forward to. I was looking at the standings and we needed two points."
Saku Koivu scored for the first time this season, and then assisted on Richard Zednik's go-ahead goal for Montreal in the second.
Zednik also earned an assist on Koivu's goal.
Koivu, Montreal's captain and leading scorer last season, didn't score in his first 11 games after returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for the season's first four weeks.
"I think I'd be lying if I said that I didn't care if I didn't score," Koivu said. "The bottom line is that one of my jobs is to bring the offense and produce. I don't think that I've played that bad, but I haven't been able to get the results."
Zednik got his eighth goal 17:49 into the second when Koivu set him up from behind the net.
The Canadiens are 2-0-1 in their last three games to improve to 11-11-2-1. Montreal hadn't gone undefeated in three straight since Oct. 11-16.
"We fought hard to get back to .500," Theodore said. "We just have to build momentum. It's been three games that we haven't lost so we've just got to keep going."
Tim Taylor also scored for the Lightning, which scored just five times while going winless in five games.
"It's disappointing," Lightning center Brad Richards said. "We had our chances in the third again. It's just one of those things right now."
Pavel Kubina's point shot struck Canadiens left wing Jan Bulis and rolled to Taylor, who redirected the puck into an open left side at 10:22.
Montreal missed a great opportunity to tie it moments later. After corralling Mike Komisarek's rebound, Yanic Perreault freed himself in front of goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. With an open left side, Perreault sent the puck just wide of the post.
The Canadiens also benefited from a bounce when Koivu scored at 15:12.
Zednik's shot from the high slot struck defenseman Nolan Pratt's leg and caromed to Koivu, who beat Khabibulin with a quick shot.
Zednik didn't miss his chance late in the second when he beat Khabibulin from the slot with 2:11 left in the period to put Montreal ahead for good.
Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore made a pad save 7:31 in to deny Lecavalier, slashed by Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray just as he shot after Dave Andreychuk's long pass sent him in on a breakaway from center ice.
|Tim Taylor (2) ASST: Pavel Kubina (5), Ben Clymer (6)|
1 - 0 TBL
|Saku Koivu (1) ASST: Richard Zednik (5), Andrei Markov (6)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Richard Zednik (8) ASST: Saku Koivu (7), Michael Ryder (8)|
2 - 1 MTL
|Vincent Lecavalier (10) ASST: NONE|
2 - 2 Tie
|PPG - Jan Bulis (5) ASST: Yanic Perreault (6), Andrei Markov (7)|
3 - 2 MTL
|Andrei Markov Roughing against Martin St. Louis|
|Martin St. Louis Roughing against Andrei Markov|
|Sheldon Souray Slashing against Vincent Lecavalier|
|Yanic Perreault Tripping against Martin St. Louis|
|Cory Sarich Hi-sticking against Pierre Dagenais|
|Dan Boyle Roughing against Steve Begin|
|Steve Begin Roughing against Dan Boyle|
|Richard Zednik Roughing against Martin St. Louis|
|Cory Sarich Interference against Richard Zednik|
|Dan Boyle Hi-sticking against Jan Bulis|