The pair scored 75.12 points for their short dance routine, 0.44 better than nearest challengers Meryl Davis and Charlie White of America who actually beat Virtue and Moir at December's Grand Prix Final.
Davis and White will be looking to close the gap in Sunday's free dance having also finished runners up to Virtue and Moir at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Currently completing the podium are Madison Chock and Evan Bates, the Americans just edging out compatriots Maia and Alex Shibutani.
In the pairs it is Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford leading the way after the short program.
They are sitting on 70.44 points, 4.11 ahead of compatriots Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch with American duo Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir in third.
And in the men's event, Yuzuru Hanyu is leading the way after the short program.
The Japanese skater won silver at the Grand Prix Final in Sochi but is well placed to go one better in front of his home fans as he racked up 87.65 points to take the lead.
China's Han Yan is second on 85.08 points with American Richard Dornbush currently in third.
© Sportsbeat 2013