March 6 (UPI) -- PITTSBURGH -- Marc-Andre Fleury had not played at home since Feb. 16, and the Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender was thrilled when the fans at PPG Paints Arena gave him a warm ovation when he led his team onto the ice for the second period Sunday to relieve starter Matt Murray.
"To see the support when I came back on the ice at the beginning of the second from the fans -- they're good to me. All my career, they've been good," Fleury said. "It's fun to play here, and it's fun to win here, too."
Winning was still just a concept at that point, considering the Buffalo Sabres took a three-goal lead into the first intermission. But Fleury stopped all 28 shots he faced, and Conor Sheary capped a four-goal comeback when he scored with 2:56 left in regulation to give the Penguins a 4-3 win.
"I've seen this team (come back) many times," said Fleury, the 32-year-old who was Pittsburgh's franchise goalie for more than a decade but has lost that job to Murray. He improved his season record to 16-8-5.
"I was just thinking to try to keep the team in the game, and I was confident we could come back."
"(Schultz) made a hell of a pass, and I had the whole net to shoot at," said Sheary, who also had an assist in his second game back after a 13-game injury absence.
Buffalo (27-27-12) lost for sixth time in seven games (1-3-3) as its playoff hopes continue to dwindle.
"We've had a few of these lately, and each one is a bigger blow to where we're at in the standings," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said.
Murray started for the 17th time in the Penguins' past 21 games but was replaced by Fleury after giving up three goals on 21 shots in the first period.
Anders Nilsson (9-9-4) stopped 41 of the Penguins' 45 shots.
The Sabres' top line struck for the opening goal. Ryan O'Reilly, off of assists from linemates Brian Gionta and Evander Kane and after he forced a Pittsburgh turnover, lifted the puck under the crossbar from below the left circle for a 1-0 lead at 6:19 of the first.
After Pittsburgh had a close call ruled no goal on a review, Gionta gave Buffalo a 2-0 lead with a power-play goal at 14:53 of the first. An errant clearing attempt by Murray led to Gionta converting a feed from Matt Moulson.
Jack Eichel increased the lead to 3-0 at 18:07 of the first when he rifled a high shot past Murray. That extended Eichel's point streak to a career-high 10 games and gave him at least one point against every NHL opponent.
"I didn't like anything about the first period," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "We just weren't ready to play. It's as simple as that."
The Sabres figured the defending Stanley Cup champions would respond appropriately.
"We got a 3-0 lead, and we knew they were going to come out faster and come out harder in the second period," Nilsson said. "At the same time, I think we stepped back a little bit. Pittsburgh's a very good team. They have lots of world-class players, and when you step back a little bit, they get to you. They're good."
Malkin's burst led to the Penguins' first goal. He flew down the right wing with the puck and sent a cross-ice pass to Phil Kessel. Schultz, in the slot, one-timed a pass from Kessel. The puck ricocheted off the skate of Buffalo's Justin Falk, off of Schultz's skate and past Nilsson to make it 3-1 at 7:45 of the second.
Malkin scored a power-play goal at 13:42 of the second to pull Pittsburgh within 3-2. From the right circle, his one-timer from a Schultz pass skipped over Nilsson's glove.
That set the stage for the Penguins to win for the eighth time when trailing after two periods.
Jake Guentzel tied it for Pittsburgh 3-3 at 16:14 of the third when he tipped the puck past Nilsson.
"We played aggressive in the first. Then we sat back and let them take it to us in the second and third," Eichel said. "The tale of every game that we've played in the last few. So, nothing changes and we blow another lead."
-- Pittsburgh D Kris Letang missed his fifth consecutive game because of an upper-body injury. He is no longer day-to-day and his situation "is a little more complicated," according to coach Mike Sullivan, leading to speculation Letang is dealing with concussion symptoms.
-- Sabres C Ryan O'Reilly scored a goal for the third game in a row.
-- Buffalo D Dmitry Kulikov, who left Saturday's game against Tampa Bay with an unspecified injury, did not play. He was replaced in the lineup by D Justin Falk, who had been a healthy scratch the previous seven games.
-- RW Kyle Okposo, the Sabres' leading scorer, missed his second straight game because of a rib injury. He is out on a week-to-week basis.
-- The Penguins' healthy scratches were RW Carter Rowney and D Derrick Pouliot; Buffalo had no healthy scratches.
-- Pittsburgh embarks on a season-long five-game road trip through western Canada and Philadelphia before its next home game March 17 against New Jersey.
-- The Sabres play five of their next six games on the road.