The La Baie, Que., native finished with a time of one minute and 27.653 seconds. The mark previously belonged to Chinese skater Zhou Yang (1:29.049), set at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
"I knew that I was able to get a world record because I did it during the Canadian Fall World Cup selections in Calgary (in September)," said Maltais. "When started my race I just told my coach I was going to go fast during the race, but I didn't say I was trying to break the record."
Maltais also won her preliminary round race in a time of 1:29.162 seconds. She will now move on to the 1,000-metre semifinals on Saturday.