Jack Butland stood in Derby's path with a string of saves that earned Stoke a point in a 0-0 draw at Pride Park.
Derby dominated possession and were by far the more positive side but Butland denied Tom Huddlestone and Harry Wilson in the first half while Duane Holmes hit a post.
Stoke created little but James McClean headed against a post, while a Wilson free-kick clipped the bar although the point moves Derby into the top six.
Derby started well and it needed a fine save from Butland to turn away a Huddlestone 20-yard drive in the seventh minute following a loose pass from Benik Afobe.
Former Derby striker Tom Ince had Stoke's first opening in the 13th minute when his shot from outside the area deflected behind and from the corner, Danny Batth just failed to make contact.
More casual Stoke play allowed Holmes to break through on the right and force Butland into another save and his clearance sent Ince away but he fired wide under pressure from Jayden Bogle.
There was a big scare for Stoke in the 25th minute when Butland punched away a free-kick to the edge of the area where Holmes crashed a volley against a post and Wilson's header was parried by the goalkeeper.
Derby were quicker to the ball and when McClean was caught in possession, Martyn Waghorn had a shot charged down before a Bogle cross flashed across the six-yard box.
Stoke, who lost Afobe with a hamstring injury before the interval, were still off the pace in the second half and were fortunate in the 57th minute when Bradley Johnson was allowed too much time to line-up a shot which fizzed just wide.
The visitors went to three at the back but it was still Derby who threatened with Tom Lawrence running at the defence to force a corner as the pressure started to build with Huddlestone firing over in the 67th minute.
Ashley Williams went into the book for pulling back Harry Wilson when Stoke were caught by a quick throw and they continued to live dangerously as Derby hurried them into errors.
But Derby were almost caught cold in the 77th minute when Tom Edwards crossed from the right and McClean dived to head against a post with Kelle Roos beaten.
Another Stoke mistake almost let Derby in causing manager Nathan Jones to throw up his arms in frustration and there was a big moment in the 90th minute when Ryan Shawcross brought down Jayden Mitchell-Lawson just outside the area.
Wilson curled the ball over the wall and beat Butland's right hand but the ball clipped the top of the bar and went behind.