Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford made up for teammate Patrick Chan's shaky short program to give Team Canada the lead after the opening day of figure skating's team competition.
Patrick Chan fell on both of his quads but rallied in the back half of his program.
The U.S. team was second, followed closely by Japan and the Olympic Athletes of Russia.
Nathan Chen was wobbly for the Americans, but the pairs team of Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim bailed him out with a dazzling performance set to music from "Moulin Rouge!"
Chen was fourth after doubling a triple toeloop and quad toeloop and falling on his troublesome triple Axel.
Duhamel and Radford scored 76.57 points in their program to finish behind Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, whose season-best 80.92 points dazzled a crowd full of Russian fans. But not even that big number could make up for teammate Mikhail Kolyada's poor short program.
The team competition resumes Sunday with the ice dance and ladies short programs.