When Nelson Pyatt built his three sons a hockey rink in the back yard of their Thunder Bay, Ontario, home, he never envisioned two of them would follow in his NHL footsteps.

But it was on that 70 feet by 40 feet sheet of ice, surrounded by boards, where Lightning center Tom Pyatt learned the value of toughness and tenacity, helping make him the relentless third-liner and penalty killer he is today.

His older — and bigger — brothers, Jesse, 34, and Taylor, 31 (a Rangers forward), wouldn't give the tinier Tom, 25, much mercy.

"Kids can be cruel sometimes," Nelson said, laughing. "They'd stick the little guy in net and drill the frozen tennis balls at him. He'd come in with a bloody nose. … I'd have to settle him down. He was really competitive."

Tom and Taylor get to face one another on a much bigger stage Saturday when the Lightning hosts New York. They have played against each other once before — in 2010 when Tom was with Montreal — but the two meet three times in the next month. Nelson and his wife, Kathie, who never miss a game on TV, will be nervously watching.

"It'll be interesting," Tom said, smiling. "I was at (Taylor's) draft, only 10, 11 years old, and I watched him step into the NHL. It was pretty cool. My dad played in the '70s. Growing up with a dad that played in the NHL is pretty neat. Just being a hockey family is awesome."