The Red Wings are enjoying their longest winning streak of the season, having won four in a row.
Howard had only nine appearances in his first three seasons with Detroit and has seen more playing time this year while Chris Osgood has struggled. This was Howard's sixth start in December and he has won four of them.
Drew Miller scored in the first period and Todd Bertuzzi and Patrick Eaves added third-period goals. The Red Wings lost leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg in the first period after he was on the receiving end of a hard hit from Mattias Ohlund.
Mike Smith gave up three goals on just 22 shots in the loss, which was the sixth straight for Tampa Bay.
The victory was the 300th as a head coach for Detroit's Mike Babcock.